A $1,000 reward is being offered for information related to two recent bald eagle shootings in the greater Portland area.
On April 5, an adult bald eagle was shot and killed at Portland International Raceway. On April 28, another adult bald eagle was shot and wounded in West Linn. That eagle is recovering at Portland Audubon, which is offering the reward in exchange for an arrest or criminal conviction in either case.
“It is outrageous that people continue to illegally shoot these amazing birds of prey,” Bob Sallinger, conservation director for Portland Audubon, said in a statement. “We spent decades recovering bald eagle populations from the brink of extinction, and anybody who shoots them needs to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. It is amazing ... that we have the opportunity to see these beautiful birds in our communities and it is incredibly sad that anybody would go out and intentionally harm them.”
Bald eagles are federally protected. Shooting at or killing a bald eagle is a misdemeanor and a second offense is a felony. Violations of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, both federal wildlife statutes, carry maximum criminal penalties of up to $100,000 per person and up to one-year federal imprisonment.
The crimes reflect an unsettling trend of poaching events that involve raptors like eagles, hawks and owls, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. This is the second raptor-related reward offered since March, when a $1,000 reward was offered for information related to a pair of great horned owls shot together near the town of Helix.
Portland Audubon receives as many as 200 injured or orphaned raptors annually. Many carry the pellets of shots fired years ago.
ODFW North Willamette Watershed District Biologist Kurt License said bald eagles play a significant role in their environments.
“They are an indicator of ecosystem health because they are at the top of the food chain,” License said.
He said he is concerned about an additional threat to raptors: the illegal sale of feathers and talons. Such sales are a federal crime. Although some people say the regulations limit legitimate access to those marketable parts, Licence disagreed.
“Some say the restrictions on owning [raptor] parts and feathers are too stringent,” he said, “But it protects them from poaching—at least for that reason.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at is taking tips about the shooting at 503-682-6131. Tips may also be emailed to Oregon State Police at TIP@osp.oregon.gov.