|Media: to download hi-res image, click on photo (large file)|
|Rehabilitated immature bald eagle, prior to release. USFWS Photo: Tom Alvarez|
|N.H. Fish and Game biologists Andy Timmins (left) and Will Staats prepare to release the eagle. USFWS Photo: Tom Alvarez|
Tom Alvarez 413-253-8356 (USF&WS)
Lt. Robert Bryant 603-271-3361 (NHF&G)
Chris Martin 603-224-9909, Ext 317 (N.H. Audubon)
December 16, 2009
Bald Eagle Shot in Millsfield, N.H., Released after Successful Rehab
CONCORD, N.H. – A bald eagle injured by gunshot in Millsfield, N.H., in late October was successfully rehabilitated and released into the wild near the Androscoggin River on December 15. The immature bird had sustained a fractured wing and other injuries.
The eagle was released near the inlet canal to Brookfield Renewable Power's Pontook Hydroelectric facility in Dummer, N.H., which is adjacent to Millsfield and part of the same watershed. Several bald eagles congregate at the Pontook Reservoir during the winter months, so the young bird will have nearby role models to help it find food at this time of year.
"When we learned that releasing the eagle from this location was going to give it the best chance in the wild, we agreed without a moment's thought," said Paul Guay, Maintenance Supervisor for Brookfield, which owns and operates ten hydroelectric facilities along the Androscoggin River and maintains a regional office in Berlin, N.H. "Brookfield collaborated with New Hampshire Audubon and local wildlife agencies in the past to successfully relocate an active osprey nest containing two eggs from our substation in Dummer, and we are glad to be a part of another important event that helps local wildlife."
“The rehabilitator says the bird is ready to go, and eagles winter in New Hampshire,” said Chris Martin of N.H. Audubon, explaining that minimizing the bird’s length of time in captivity will help its chances for survival in the wild.
The eagle was restored to health by Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator Maria Colby at the Wings of Dawn facility in Henniker, N.H. The day before its release, Colby assisted Audubon biologists in placing federal and color identification bands on the eagle.
New Hampshire Fish and Game Department conservation officers and special agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are conducting a joint investigation into the shooting incident. To date, officials have not found the person responsible for the shooting, but the investigation remains open.
“Our wildlife agencies are still at work looking for evidence to find the perpetrator,” said Sgt. Wayne Saunders of N.H. Fish and Game Law Enforcement. “We remain hopeful that they can find the person responsible for this crime.”
Anyone with information should call the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Operation Game Thief 24-hour hotline at: 1-800-344-4262, or report online anytime at www.HuntNH.com/OGT. Callers may remain anonymous.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a reward of up to $2,500 to the person or people who provide information leading to a conviction under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. In addition to the Eagle Act, state laws and the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act protect bald eagles. Until 2007, bald eagles were also protected under the Endangered Species Act.
The shooting incident occurred in October 2009 off the Millsfield Loop Road in Wildlife Management Area B, in Millsfield, N.H. Local sportsmen discovered the injured bald eagle and notified the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. N.H. Fish and Game wildlife biologists Andrew Timmins and Will Staats captured the wounded eagle and delivered it to the wildlife rehabilitator for treatment in October, and assisted with the eagle’s release this week.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and a trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information about our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
New Hampshire Audubon, a non-profit membership organization, is dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and habitat throughout the state. Audubon’s conservation scientists collaborate with New Hampshire Fish and Game’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program to monitor and manage the state’s population of bald eagles. For more information about New Hampshire Audubon, visit www.nhaudubon.org.
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state’s fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats. Visit www.wildnh.com.
Click title for related press release:
Bald Eagle Shot in Millsfield, N.H.; Reward Offered - November 6, 2009