Bald eagle shot in Barren County represents a disturbing trend, says raptor rehab group
Warning: This story contains graphic photos.
An injured bald eagle captured in Barren County has a long road to recovery. The national bird had been shot six times before being rescued last week by the Army Corps of Engineers at Barren River Lake.
Brigid Kunzler, rehab manager at the Louisville-based non-profit Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky, said the male bald eagle had six shotgun pellets lodged in its body, and continues to receive treatment.
“He has definitely perked up. He’s a lot feistier than when he came in, and he's got a good appetite," Kunzler told WKU Public Radio. "He’s not out of the woods yet, but his prognosis is good.”
Kunzler says the eagle is expected to return to Barren County and be released back into the wild in two to four weeks.
Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky is seeing a rising number of migratory birds with gunshot wounds. The organization had a record number of gunshot patients in 2022 and has treated eight so far this year.
“Every bird that comes in, their injuries are always hard to see, but the ones that have been intentionally hurt by humans are exceptionally hard," commented Kunzler.
Kunzler says eagles may be getting shot because they’re mistaken for vultures or hawks, which some people see as nuisance.
It’s against federal law to injure any migratory bird in the U-S. Violators can face fines and jail time.