The Maine Warden Service has created this poster showing the eagle in Waterford prior to its capture for evaluation.

Maine game wardens are offering a $1,000 reward for information about the shooting of a bald eagle in the Oxford County town of Waterford.

The Maine Warden Service responded on Dec. 26 to a report of a bald eagle acting abnormally on Papoose Pond, the agency said in a statement Monday. The eagle could only fly short distances, but still eluded a game warden trying to capture it for evaluation. When the warden returned to the pond a few days later, the eagle was very weak and less mobile. The warden captured the eagle and brought it to Avian Haven in Freedom. X-rays revealed six shotgun pellets in the eagle’s jaw, wing and leg.

Avian Haven reported the eagle died on Dec. 30. Tests suggested the cause of death was starvation.

Anyone with information about or knowledge of the shooting, which is a violation of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, is asked to call Maine Operation Game Thief at 800-ALERT-US (800-253-7887) or public safety dispatch in Augusta at 624-7076. Callers can remain anonymous via the Operation Game Thief call line. The warden service is offering the reward for information that leads to a conviction.

Maine’s eagle population has increased dramatically in the last 50 years. There are 734 nesting pairs in 2019, compared to a low of 21 nesting pairs in 1967.

Megan Gray can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: mainemegan

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