ENVIRONMENT

Maryland Police Find 2 Bald Eagles Shot To Death During Christmas Holidays

DARLINGTON, MD  - NOVEMBER 29:    An American bald eagle bags a fish in the prime fishing grounds below Conowingo Dam in Darl
DARLINGTON, MD - NOVEMBER 29: An American bald eagle bags a fish in the prime fishing grounds below Conowingo Dam in Darlington, MD on November 29, 2012. On most days between Thanksgiving and into January, the shallow waters becomes a prime spot to watch 20-50 eagles hunt for prey along the Susquehanna river. Fish that are sucked through the dam turbines are easy pickings on the other side for eagles as well as buzzards, crows and seagulls. Once the first cold snaps hit in the north, the eagles migrate south for a few months. Wildlife photographers and bird enthusiasts far outnumber fishermen a the dam these days as they try to capture perfect shots of eagles hunting, mid-air fights and dining on fish. Binoculars or high powered lenses are recommended if you want to see the birds up close. Photo shot with a Nikon 600mm f4 lens with a 1.4 teleconverter. (Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Maryland Natural Resources Police are investigating the killing of two bald eagles in Montgomery County over the past week.

The first was shot with a rifle at about 3 p.m. on Christmas Day while feeding on a deer carcass in a field that adjoins Georgia Avenue and Bordley Road in Brookville, according to a police news release.

Then, on Saturday morning, another eagle was found wounded by a bird shot near a residence on Deakins Lane in Darnestown, the release said. The bird later died of its injuries.

Investigators believe the shootings are unrelated.

Anyone with information on the shootings may call the Department of Natural Resources Communications Center, 410-260-8888. Callers who wish to remain anonymous may call the Catch-A-Poacher hotline at 1-800-635-6124, where a reward is possible.

The bald eagle was removed from the nationally protected endangered species list in 2007, and in then Maryland three years later, the release said.

Still, shooting eagles requires a permit from the U.S. Department of the Interior, and a conviction for doing so without one can carry a fine of up to $5,000 and up to a year in prison, the release said.

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