bald eagle shot

This bald eagle was shot between Miami and Welch. Courtesy

What kind of American shoots a bald eagle?

Eagles are not game birds. They are the majestic emblem of our nation. Shooting them is ugly. Un-American. Senseless.

It’s hard to believe, but someone winged a bald eagle on Oklahoma 10 between Miami and Welch recently.

The mature eight-pound bird is recovering at the Tulsa Zoo after a heroic rescue effort.

“You don’t shoot something like that by accident,” Dr. Kay Backues, senior staff veterinarian at the zoo, told the Tulsa World’s Kelly Bostian. “This is the bird that is on our money, our national symbol.”

After intravenous rehydration and liquid food, the bird ate a fish on Monday — a good indicator for its recovery. The chances for the bird’s survival is about 75%, but the prognosis for return to the wild is less so, Backues said.

It will take weeks to know if the eagle’s wing will recover so that it can fly and hunt again.

As Dan Reinking, a senior biologist at the Sutton Avian Research Center, told Bostian, there is no good time to shoot an eagle, but the nesting season is probably the worst time.

Shooting the female eagle could mean the deaths of eaglets at her nest.

Shooting bald eagles is wrong on its face, and it’s a federal crime. The species is no longer endangered but is protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists the penalty for a first criminal offense as a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in prison and fine of up to $100,000.

Someone knows who is responsible for this crime. Patriotism, law and good sportsmanship call out for answers and an arrest.

Anyone with information about the eagle shooting can contact Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Game Warden Jason Adair at (918) 533-2679 or the Operation Game Thief Hotline, 1-800-522-4572, where callers may remain anonymous and may be given a reward if the report leads to a conviction.

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