What To Do When You Find A Dead Bald Eagle


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Dead bald Eagle found in our woods out front.

Yesterday a buddy of mine sent me a message.  “Hey there is a dead bald eagle south on route 1 bridge on magnolia by trap shooters rd looks to be a dead bald eagle on the side of the road , what do I do?”  Good question, I told him to contact DNREC’s fish and wildlife enforcement.  I knew they would have an answer.  Not twenty minutes later we discovered a dead bald eagle six feet from our driveway in the woods, what are the odds of that, I was thinking.  Now I  had to contact DNREC fish and wildlife enforcement, and I learned a few things in the process.  Officer Troy Trimmer told me to contact dispatch for DNREC’s fish and wildlife enforcement, 1 800 523 3336.  I was told an officer would be in touch with me as soon as possible.

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There were some blood spots on the head but was probably from eating

The phone rang not long after and officer White informed me they would send someone or himself to come collect the bird.  “Are you sure it is dead?  Yes, I poked it with a stick”  I felt bad about that, but I didn’t want to disturb the carcass, I knew they would want to do the whole “CSI” thing.  Dead federally protected birds are always collected, but ever since that incident last year near Dagsboro with all of those bald eagles, it is taken more seriously in our area. The bird will be sent to the federal wildlife folks to be checked for a cause of death.  The dent and tear in its abdomen suggested it may have been hit by something, like a car.  It looked like it just fell out of the tree it was under and hit the ground.  We see a lot of eagles on the side of the road eating dead animals, just like the buzzards.  Getting hit by a car would be a good guess. The eagle had a band and that will make identifying it much easier as far as location and the like.

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Band on the eagles foot

Apparently once these birds are “processed” they are shipped to an organization in the mid west to collect the feathers for the native Americans, since they are federally protected this is the only way feathers can be legally obtained.  The National Eagle Repository collects all eagle carcasses,  It is a clearinghouse for eagles and eagle parts to provide Native Americans with eagle feathers for religious use. “Eagles are protected under two federal laws.  The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. These laws generally prohibit the possession, use, and sale of eagle feathers and parts as well as a number of other activities”   You can check out the facts sheet on eagles at this link.

So if you find a dead eagle contact your local fish and wildlife enforcement, and they will take it from there.

Fish On!

Rich King

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