Pennsylvania Game Commission investigating shooting death of bald eagle

Western PA News

BERKS COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Game Commission announced the shooting death of a bald eagle in Berks County on Thursday.

Investigators said the eagle was dumped in a State Game Lands parking lot along Mountain Road in Tilden Township, Berks County on Jan. 24.

“To think that somebody would be stupid enough to shoot a bird as it flies by just so they can shoot something — it is senseless,” said Karen Lippy, a former game commission eagle watcher.

X-rays on the eagle show bullet fragments consistent with a gunshot wound. It was killed during peak nesting season for the species.

“You would think it’s a strange time with everything being as cold as it is, but the eagles tolerate cold very well,” Lippy said.

It’s the other predators — not the cold — that can be problematic for eagles. In order for eggs to survive, two eagles are usually needed to fight off any unwelcome visitors while the other gets food.

If the eagle that was killed had a nest, it’s in trouble.

“There’s usually two eggs — sometimes three. So, they not only killed the adult but the potential of three offspring,” Lippy said.

For Lippy, the death of the eagle is personal. She’s had an eagle eye for the eagles since ’83, helping to spot the species when they were still endangered. Now, she’s the queen of the Facebook group Hanover Pa Eagle Cam, which boasts nearly 38,000 members.

“I can tell you that [group members] know more about these eagles than they do about their own family,” Lippy laughed.

The group follows a nest camera outside Codorus State Park.

“The eagles came to mean a lot to people. People were sick. People were shut-in. People couldn’t go out, but all of a sudden they had this amazing thing where they could look in this nest,” Lippy said.

The nest became everyone’s home. The eagles became like family, and you know what they say about birds of a feather.

“The life of everything is precious to me, but eagles hold in our hearts a higher place because it is a symbol of our country,” Lippy said.

If you have any information, you’re asked to contact the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Southeast Region at 610-926-3136 or the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-888-PGC-8001 or online.

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