A juvenile bald eagle found injured on Independence Day at a Havre de Grace area park had been shot, according to Maryland Natural Resources Police. The wound was crippling enough that regional wildlife rehabilitators and veterinarians were forced to euthanize the raptor.
Natural Resources Police have initiated an investigation and are encouraging the public to contact the agency with any tips or information that may provide assistance in the case.
While enjoying a Fourth of July hike at Swan Harbor Farm – a Harford County-owned 500-acre Chesapeake Bay-front park on the Oakington peninsula – visitors from Baltimore County discovered the bird laying in a field off a walking path. The juvenile eagle (which had not yet developed its namesake white plumage on its head) was clearly in distress – wing twisted, panting, and evidently unable to move or fly.
Along with a member of Susquehannock Wildlife Society, the visitors contacted several organizations for assistance, including Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Inc. and Owl Moon Raptor Center, and kept the eagle cool with water and improvised shade. An officer with the Maryland Natural Resources Police responded to the call and was able to subdue the raptor and cool it down in an air-conditioned car while coming up with a plan to get it to a local wildlife rehabilitation center.
A veterinarian at Second Chance Wildlife Center later assessed the eagle and discovered it had been shot and, among other injuries associated with its crash landing, had a pellet lodged near its spine. After consultation with other regional veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitators, the decision was made to humanely euthanize the bald eagle.
Maryland Natural Resources Police began its investigation after learning the eagle had been shot and has asked anyone who may have information relating to this incident to please call (800) 628-9944.