Bald eagle death raises concerns about unlawful bird shooting


RED BLUFF, Calif. - A bald eagle killed by an unknown person in Red Bluff is bringing attention to the unlawful shooting of protected birds. A local bird rescuer was called in and tried to save it.

Director of the Battle Creek Alliance and Defiance Canyon Raptor Rescue Marily Woodhouse rushed over to Red Bluff when she got the call that a young bald eagle had been shot Saturday morning.

"She said there was an eagle down on the road that the Red Bluff Police had gotten that she said had been hit by a car," Woodhouse said.

Red Bluff Police had gathered the young bird, not yet mature enough to have the signature white head, and turned it over to Woodhouse, who immediately went to work.

"Any bird that's injured needs to have some hydration. I mean that's just the first thing you always do," Woodhouse said, "Unfortunately, the eagle did have a lot of blood in its throat, and it regurgitated a lot of the hydration fluids, which is a really bad sign. That means that it had some kind of internal hemorrhage going on."

Woodhouse then took the eagle to a vet in Redding where they found injuries indicating a gunshot wound.

"We could see that there was blood coming from its back thigh area, but we couldn't find where it was. So she suggested that I take it to the UC Davis vet hospital immediately," Woodhouse said.

Unfortunately, they could not save the young eagle.

"Monday I found out it had died in the night, but they did a postmortem X-ray, and they did find two shots of some sort in it," Woodhouse said.

While no longer on the endangered list, it remains a crime to shoot a bald eagle. Woodhouse reported it to both federal and state departments of Fish and Wildlife.

"You have to report it to them, it's a criminal activity. It's against the law to shoot any migratory bird, not just eagles," Woodhouse said.

She said just recently she helped nurse a red-tailed hawk back to freedom after being shot.

Woodhouse wants the public to know they shouldn't shoot any predatory birds because they are important to the natural balance of life.

According to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, shooting these birds can carry a penalty as high as two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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