Sunday, December 25, 2011
Spirit the bald eagle flies again on wings, prayers
Still bearing seven shotgun pellets from the blast that nearly killed him, Spirt the bald eagle flew free again Thursday to the cheers of those who spent more than two months nursing him back to health.
A surgically repaired and rehabilitated right wing kept perfect time with the other wing, and Spirit soared into a nearby tree, as Becker and hospital staff shouted with joy. After a few moments, Spirit took off again, wheeled around a stand of tall white pines, and disappeared into the wild, the calls of suddenly alarmed crows announcing his journey.
Now, in addition to the shotgun pellets, Spirit carries another bit of his encounter with humans — a leg tag from the state Department of Environmental Conservation so he can be identified if captured.
Both DEC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are continuing to investigate the shooting. A $2,500 reward is being offered by USFW for information in the case.
The birds are currently protected under the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Maximum penalties are $100,000 and $15,000, respectively, with possible imprisonment of up to one year.