On Thursday evening, I responded, at the request of Owl Moon Raptor Center, to a call for rescue of a black vulture with an arrow through it.
People saw the bird in the backyard of a home on Ridout Road in Annapolis and called for help.
I immediately called Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) and asked if they could meet me at the site – two officers arrived before I did.
As a journalist, I’ve reported a lot about crimes involving birds of prey, but this was the first time I had responded to one as a rescuer – I’ve been rescuing birds since 2019.
I was, and remain, angry and upset.
When I dropped the bird off at Owl Moon Raptor Center, it was alive. For my own self preservation, I don’t usually want to know the medical status of the bird (if humane euthanasia will be necessary or if it’s able to be rehabilitated) and as such, I probably won’t ask with this one.
Some similar cases investigated by NRP have successfully been brought to justice, including one where a great horned owlet was shot at Thomas Point Park in Annapolis.
There is a well-documented link between those who are cruel to animals and violence towards humans.
If you have any ideas who shot the vulture with a bow and arrow, please contact NRP at 410-260-8888 or Maryland Wildlife Crime Stoppers at 443-433-4112 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update 6/23/2022 – according to Suzanne Shoemaker, executive director of Owl Moon Raptor Center, the vulture didn’t make it. According to Maryland Natural Resources Police, they will not be investigating the case further.
Update 6/18/2022 –
Donna L. Cole is an award-winning multimedia and investigative reporter. She’s also a bird of prey rescuer.