BECKLEY, W.Va. — A wounded eagle found last weekend in Greenbrier County has sparked outrage in the community and an investigation by West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Police.
The injured bird was discovered in Greenbrier County last Saturday afternoon near Second Creek. The bird was taken to the Three Rivers Avian Center who attempted to save the bird, but could not.
“They ended up having to euthanize it,” said Sgt. Andrew Lyons of the Natural Resources Police. “They said there wasn’t enough there to put back together as far as its wing bone.”
X-Rays performed by the avian center revealed the bird had been shot.
“According top them it had been shot in the wing,” Lyons said. “It also had some form of lead poisoning, which wasn’t necessarily from the gunshot. It may have been eating something that was contaminated.”
The likelihood the bird was mistaken for something else is doubtful. It was a mature bird with a clearly white head. The bird was a male and the avian center suspected the death of the bird would not be the only one lost to the incident.
“They said nest failure is almost imminent when one parent disappears during the time they’re trying to raise their young ones,” said Lyons.
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources estimates there are at least 200 known bald eagle nesting sites in West Virginia. A large number of those are in the Greenbrier Valley. Biologists suspect during this time of year it is likely the nest is within a mile or so of where the eagle was found.
Officers are hoping to get more information about the eagle’s demise in tips from the public.
“The bird center is offering a reward for a conviction,” said Lyons. “But so far as of now we haven’t gotten any information to follow up on.”
Tips can be made at the Natural Resources Police Facebook Page or at the online reporting site. Any information is helpful, but the more that is shared, the better officers are able to build a case and file charges. Tips can also be shared anonymously.