Confirmed Link in Some of the Eastern Shore Bald Eagle Poisonings

WNAV has confirmed a link with some of the cases of poisoned bald eagles on the Eastern Shore. 

Public records confirm two different locations at or near where bald eagles were found poisoned have the same owner. The owner of those two properties is connected by a neighbor to a third location where bald eagles were also found poisoned. We are currently withholding details on these property locations and owners. 

WNAV’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for information about the 13 dead bald eagles, found in Federalsburg, Md. in February 2016, led to our breaking of the June 2018 story (https://www.facebook.com/1430WNAV/photos/a.159727807424956/1909705205760532/?type=3&theater) that the eagles had died by secondary poisoning of carbofuran, a federally banned pesticide. In that incident, the eagles had scavenged on a poisoned raccoon. 

In January 2017 in Easton, Md., another five dead bald eagles were found in a field. Our FOIA in that case led to our breaking the July 2018 story (https://www.facebook.com/1430WNAV/photos/a.159727807424956/1959609684103417/?type=3&theater) that those birds also died by secondary poisoning of carbofuran, after scavenging on a poisoned fox. 

Last week, the USFWS and Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) issued a joint press release detailing information in two new poisoning cases that happened in March of April of this year, however that release did not have any information about the Easton case. We added those details in our story here – https://www.facebook.com/1430WNAV/photos/a.159727807424956/2392032040861177/?type=3&theater

Lt. Roy Rafter of NRP told us today that his agency wasn’t aware of the Easton case. Because bald eagles are protected by federal laws (the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act), the USFWS is the lead agency in these investigations. We were also told NRP doesn’t always get the first call about such cases because they are federally protected birds. In the interest of ensuring the public is aware of all cases we’ve learned of, WNAV has since shared the pathology report for the Easton case with NRP. 

We have emailed and left phone messages for the USFWS for comment. We will update the story should we receive anything.

Photo above courtesy of Troy Whaley

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