DNR Seeks Leads on Young Bald Eagle Shot and Killed in Dubois County Last Week
On Saturday, a motorist saw a juvenile bald eagle feeding on a dead raccoon about 50 yards from the roadway north of County Road 300 North, near the intersection of 175 East near Jasper.
90 minutes later, the same person passed the eagle again — only this time the bird wasn’t moving, so the local DNR was alerted.
Region 7 Conservation officer Joe Haywood said they arrived to find the eagle dead, still clutching the raccoon in its talons.
“So we collected the bird, we went and had it X-rayed. And an x-ray was able to show that there was some type of metal or lead inside of it,” he said, meaning it was shot.
Haywood said because it’s a well-traveled street, they’re hoping someone might know when this happened specifically or maybe even who did it. Photographs are also helpful.
Call 1-800-TIP-IDNR (800-847-4367) with information, or the field office at 812-789-9538.
Eagles are a protected species. Poaching — or illegally taking Federally protected species — is a Class-C misdemeanor with up to 60 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500.
The eagle was a juvenile, so still mostly brown and was likely shot from the roadway between 2 and 3:30 p.m.
Haywood said numbers of eagles have rebounded and are not totally uncommon anymore.
“People still enjoy watching them. Patoka Lake does an eagle watch every year,” he said. “Just the fact that it's our national bird nation symbol — it holds a place in a lot of people's hearts.”
Haywood says it’s been several years since an eagle has been shot and killed in his area.
Raptor species that look similar include the turkey vulture and osprey, but distinct differences are present.
- Adult bald eagles have white feathered heads with a dark brown body and wings. The tail is also white.
- Legs and beaks are bright yellow in adults.
- Immature bald eagles have mostly dark heads and bodies with white mottling throughout. Young birds will gain adult plumage at 4 or 5 years of age.
- Males and females are identical in color.
- Can live up to 38 years in the wild.
- Males weigh 8 to 9 pounds; while females weigh 10 to 14 pounds.
- Wingspan of 6.5 to 7 feet.
- Total body length ranges from 28 to 38 inches.
- Bald eagles may fly up to 40 mph during normal flight, but they can reach speeds of 100 when diving for prey.
- Active flight is with slow, powerful wingbeats. They soar and glide usually on flat wings. Bald eagles have a noticeable, unusual flight behavior of banking and flapping their wings vigorously while vertical.
Source: Indiana DNR