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Who took aim at a Vt. bald eagle? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Who took aim at a Vt. bald eagle?

Quechee, Vermont - September 28, 2010

There are two full-grown bald eagles that currently call the Vermont Institute of Natural Science home. But earlier this month, a third bird arrived at the facility.

"This is a federally protected bird," said Sara Eisenhauer of VINS. "This is a big deal. It's our national symbol for goodness sakes."

Authorities say the juvenile bald eagle was shot by a buck shot sometime near the beginning of September. When the injured bird was brought to VINS after it was discovered on a logging trail in Troy, X-rays showed it had a fractured wing and several bullet holes. But those caring for the rare bird say the eagle is already on the road to recovery.

"It's wing wrap had been taken off just a few days ago, so we did find that the facture has healed. It's still a little tender, so we don't have him out of his small enclosure just yet," Eisenhauer said.

The bald eagle is being cared for at the rehab facility. However, the public is not allowed to view or interact with the bird because officials here say they want the eagle to have the best chance possible to eventually return to the wild.

A live webcam video has been set on VINS website so the eagle can be studied by bird enthusiasts. The goal is to have it one day return to the wild.

"We will test its flight ability and then we will also see if it is able to capture live prey. If this bird can pass all these tests, then he is releasable," Eisenhauer said.

Those walking the trails at VINS on this day expressed their disgust for whoever is responsible for the crime.

"I think it is a horrendous crime," said Ronald Bickel of Pennsylvania. "Why would anybody do that? It doesn't make sense. You can't eat it, you can't do anything with it. It's just a majestic creature. Why on earth would you ever shoot one?"

It's a symbolic bird that is making a comeback in the United States. The bald eagle was removed from the endangered species list in 2007.

"They are very neat birds," Bickel said. "We have a few around where we live. They are coming back. Way more than there were a few years ago."

And officials at VINS hope one more young bald eagle will be back in its natural home soon.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to a conviction under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

Adam Sullivan - WCAX News

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