Two bald eagles were found dead in Kansas on Jan. 9 and 10, an incident the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is actively investigating.
The first eagle was found in a borrow ditch approximately 1⁄4 mile north of the Ness County line, in southeastern Trego County. Working with area veterinarians, metal was found in the bird.
The second eagle was recovered in northwest Montgomery County, approximately 1⁄2 mile south of the Wilson County line. X-rays again showed the presence of metal.
Bald eagles are protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The killing of any eagle constitutes a violation of those acts.
Anyone with information regarding the death of these eagles is asked to contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, in Topeka at (785) 232-5149. The USFWS will pay for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the killing of these or any other eagles or protected species. Anyone contributing information to authorities may choose to remain anonymous. Information may also be reported to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism's Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-877-426-3843.
Approximately 50,000 pairs of bald eagles occupied the lower 48 states in pre-colonial times, but that number was reduced to 400 pairs by the 1960s. Biologists blame a loss of habitat, shooting, trapping, and the heavy use of pesticides such as DDT for the decline of the species, which was officially listed under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1976. After DDT was outlawed, bald eagles began making a comeback in the late 1980s, and the species was down-listed from endangered to threatened in 1996. In June of 2007, it was removed from the list completely.
For more information on the bald eagle, visit www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/baldeagle.htm.