ROCKY POINT, N.C. (WNCT) – A young bald eagle was rescued from Bertie County Monday after veterinarians said it was shot with pellets throughout its body and left on the brink of death.
Dr. Joni Seymour performed surgery on the bird for hours. “He fractured his right wing and generally that happens because the pellets disrupt the feathers, which are keeping him up in the air,” Seymour said.
The staff is hopeful this bald eagle will recover. A dead bald eagle was found shot in the head in Chatham County on Monday.
This isn’t the first bird the center has treated with gunshot wounds. Nero, a red tailed hawk, was also shot, and another bald eagle, named Rocky, is recovering from a gunshot wound that left his right wing fractured. He was rescued from Pamlico County six weeks ago and brought to the Cape Fear Raptor Center.
Shooting these birds of prey is illegal in North Carolina. “It’s a class one misdemeanor, which a conviction of it could bring you jail time,” said Sgt. David Jordan with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “It’s possible you could receive up to six months in jail for it in state court. The replacement cost on a bald eagle is $4,313.”
That’s just at the state level. The charges are higher federally. No one knows who shot the birds or why.
“Lots of time, hunters get a bad rap on these birds that’ve been shot because they (other people) think it’s hunters shooting them,” said Jordan. “We’re very much for hunters here. They’re great conservationists, great for the environment. So we certainly don’t point fingers at the hunting community.”
The costs for their surgeries and medications run upwards of tens of thousands of dollars. If you’d like to help out, you can donate here.