PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Audubon is offering a $1,000 reward for information related to two recent bald eagle shootings in the greater Portland area. The information must lead to an arrest or criminal conviction in either case.
On April 5, an adult bald eagle was shot and killed at Portland International Raceway. On April 28, another adult bald eagle was shot and wounded in West Linn. The eagle is recovering at Portland Audubon, which is offering a $1,000 reward.
The crimes reflect an unsettling trend of poaching events that involve raptors like eagles, hawks and owls. This is the second raptor-related reward offered in as many months. In March of this year, Portland Audubon offered a reward of $1,000 for information related to a pair of great horned owls shot together near the town of Helix.
Portland Audubon receives as many as 200 injured or orphaned raptors annually. Too many carry the pellets of shots fired years ago.
“It is outrageous that people continue to illegally shoot these amazing birds of prey,” says Bob Sallinger, Conservation Director for Portland Audubon. “We spent decades recovering bald eagle populations from the brink of extinction and anybody who shoots them needs to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. It is amazing thing that we have the opportunity to see these beautiful birds in our communities and it is incredibly sad that anybody would go out and intentionally harm them.”
Raptors can be a farmer’s best friend. Owls in particular, which raise young year-round in some places, will consume about 50 mice or voles per night to feed six owlets, according to ODFW North Willamette Watershed District Biologist Kurt License.
“A benefit of raptors is that they take care of a tremendous number of rodents,” Licence said. “They are an indicator of ecosystem health because they are at the top of the food chain.”
License is concerned about an additional threat to raptors: the illegal sale of feathers and talons. Such sales are a federal crime. Although some people say the regulations limit legitimate access to those marketable parts, Licence disagrees.
“Some say the restrictions on owning (raptor) parts and feathers are too stringent,” he said, “But it protects them from poaching—at least for that reason.”
Violations of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, both federal wildlife statutes, carry maximum criminal penalties of up to $100,000 per person and up to one-year federal imprisonment.
Anyone with information about this case should call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (503) 682-6131, or Oregon State Police Tip Line at (800) 452-7888 or *OSP (*677) from a mobile phone. Or email: TIP@osp.oregon.gov between the hours of 8-5 Mon-Fri. Callers may remain anonymous.
The Stop Poaching Campaign educates the public on how to recognize and report poaching. This campaign is a collaboration among hunters, conservationists, land owners and recreationists. Our goal is to increase reporting of wildlife crimes through the TIP Line, increase detection by increasing the number of OSP Fish and Wildlife Troopers and increase prosecution. Oregon Hunters Association manages the TIP fund. This campaign helps to protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitat for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Contact campaign coordinator Yvonne Shaw for more information. Yvonne.L.Shaw@odfw.oregon.gov.