I’m guessing it was suicide. I’m thinking bald eagles are tired of being used as a ploy for an idea that seems not to exist any longer.

Thirteen bald eagles found dead on Maryland farm in unusual incident

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American bald eagles are no longer endangered, but they are considered a protected species. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)
By Dana Hedgpeth February 22 at 3:02 PM
Thirteen bald eagles were found dead over the weekend near a farm on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in what authorities say is the largest single die-off of bald eagles in the state in 30 years.

Officials with the Maryland Natural Resources Police said they received a call at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday from a man who said he was out looking for antlers that deer might have shed and came across what he initially thought was a dead turkey in a field on a farm in Caroline County. But he discovered it was actually four dead bald eagles.

When officers arrived, they found nine additional dead bald eagles in the field on Laurel Grove Road in Federalsburg.

It was not immediately clear what had caused the birds to die, but one official said there were “no obvious signs of trauma with these birds,” according to Candy Thomson, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Natural Resources Police.

The discovery of 13 dead bald eagles was the largest single incident in decades for the state, officials said. At least three of the birds were mature, with the signature white heads and brown bodies. Two of the birds were close to being mature birds, officials said, and the rest were considered immature birds with no white feathers.

“It’s been 30 years since we’ve seen anything like this involving this many dead bald eagles,” Thomson said. “Three mature eagles, the ones we all love that look like the national bird, are gone.”

“It’s sad that we have three eagles of mating ability that have been eliminated from our population.”

A reward of $2,500 is being offered for information in the case.

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Thomson said the birds were tagged and the scene was photographed. The natural resources police and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are investigating the incident.

Officials with the federal agency said the carcasses will be sent to a forensic lab they have in Oregon.

“This is significant,” said Catherine Hibbard, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She said one of the investigators on the case said “he’s never seen that many dead at one time” in his eight years of work on the Eastern Shore.
Thirty years ago, officials said, eight bald eagles were found dead in Maryland. Officials said they believe those birds may have been poisoned.

And two years ago, two bald eagles were shot and killed in a week in Montgomery County. It is illegal to shoot eagles without a permit from the U.S. Department of the Interior.

[Bald eagles shot and killed in Montgomery County]

In that case in Montgomery County, one eagle was found shot Christmas Day in a field in Brookville. The bird was feeding on a deer carcass when it was shot, officials said.

Officials had said they thought the Brookville case was one of mistaken identity where somebody may have seen a bird sitting on a carcass of a deer and thought they were shooting a vulture.

A few days later, another eagle was found near a residence in Darnestown. That bird was alive when it was found, but it later died of its injuries. Police later said an X-ray showed the eagle had been hit by bird shot. In the Darnestown case, officials said they were worried because someone came into a residential area and was possibly shooting where they should not have been.

In this latest case on the Eastern Shore, officials said, one possibility is the birds ate carcasses of dead animals that had ingested poison, officials said.

Bald eagles are no longer on the endangered species list, but they are considered a protected species, according to the Natural Resources Police.

Anyone with information is asked to call 410-228-2476.

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