4 bald eagles were shot dead in Granite Falls, Washington last week, Seattle Times reports Jan. 17. Washington Fish and Wildlife and a Native American tribe in the state are offering $13,750 for information leading to the conviction of those responsible for killing the eagles.
Authorities suspect the bald eagles were shot from their tree perches and thrown into a Snohomish County lake.
“They dropped into the lake, and that’s where they were found floating,” said Department of Fish & Wildlife Sgt. Jennifer Maurstad.
The 4 bald eagles shot to death have been sent to a lab for X-ray analysis. Although the reason for the birds' death is clear, the goal is to retrieve the bullets and match them up to something. What law enforcement knows for sure is that the eagles were shot with a small-caliber rifle.
Why someone would want to intentionally harm the eagles isn't known. It's not a common occurrence whatsoever in the state, but eagle parts fetch a lot of money on the black market. They're used in high-end artwork as well as Native American and Wiccan ceremonies. Investigators note that bald eagles are so lucrative in the black market that they're often referred to as "flying $1,000 bills."
Whoever killed the 4 bald eagles didn't do it for profit.
“I don’t think he had any intention of profiting from them,” Maurstad said. “I think it was just a spur-of-the-moment opportunity.”
Under state and federal laws in the U.S., it's illegal to own an eagle or any of their parts without a permit. Even possessing a feather is considered a misdemeanor that will result in being fined up to $2,000 or $3,000 -- plus 90 days in jail.