13 bald eagles found dead on Md. farm

WASHINGTON — There’s now a $10,000 reward for whomever helps explain the largest single day die-off of bald eagles in Maryland in 30 years.

“This is like a big puzzle,” said Candy Thomson, spokeswoman for the Maryland Natural Resources Police. She said 13 bald eagles were found dead in Federalsburg, Maryland on Saturday.

“Their bodies will be sent to a forensic wildlife laboratory in Oregon, where forensic pathologists will go about the business of figuring out what happened to them,” Thomson explains.

DNR officers returned Monday to a field and woods near the intersection of Laurel Grove Road and Richardson Road where the birds were discovered. No other bird or animal fatalities were found.

“They [also] were talking to residents, canvassing the town to see if anybody noticed anything  unusual, smelled anything unusual or saw anything  that looked out of place,” Thomson said.

The dead eagles included three that were fully mature with majestic white head and tail feathers. Two were adolescents colored with mottled brown and white blotches. The rest were immature brown bald eagles still growing up.

The Federalsburg area on the southern tip in Caroline County, Md. is in the heart of the Eastern Shore near the Delaware boarder and has a dense population of Bald Eagles.

‘This is prime eagle habitat,” Thomson notes. “You have the Choptank River on the one side, and Marshyhope Creek on the other. That’s a lot of area [for the raptors] to hunt and fish.”

There were no signs of trauma to the bird’s bodies. Thomson is confident the experts in Oregon will uncover what happened.

“They’re the best experts in the country who have seen all kinds of things like this, and will get to the bottom of it,” she said.

Bald eagles are no longer listed under the Endangered Species Act, but they are still federally protected.

People who endanger the birds face maximum fines of up to $100,000 and up to a year in prison.

Rewards from various wildlife groups in this case now total $10,000 for information that leads to a conviction if it turns out the birds will killed deliberately.

Maryland’s DNR Police tip line number: 410-260-8888.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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