BROOKINGS — A dead bald eagle with its talons illegally removed was discovered Monday near the mouth of Southern Oregon's Winchuck River south of Brookings, and police are asking for help in identifying the culprit for prosecution under federal law.
An examination of the eagle showed no visible signs of injuries that would have led to the bird's death, and Oregon State Police don't know how it died.
"There was no evidence it was shot," said Sgt. Levi Harris of the OSP's Fish and Wildlife Division office in Coos Bay. "It was probably natural causes."
No suspects have been identified, and investigators are working under the theory that someone "more than likely" found the bird's carcass and removed the talons, Harris said.
The taking of the bird's talons without a permit is a violation of the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940, even if the person who took the talons did not cause the bird's death, according to OSP.
Penalties under the act can include jail time and a fine of $100,000 or more, depending on the circumstances.
Bald eagles are also protected under Oregon's wildlife laws.
Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact Senior Trooper Paul Rushton at 541-531-5896.
Anyone with information regarding wildlife violations is encouraged to report the information to the Oregon State Police Turn in Poachers (TIP) hotline at 1-800-452-7888. Informants can remain anonymous and still earn rewards.