The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a reward for information about the shooting of a golden eagle near Touchet.
A member of the public spotted the injured bird still alive Dec. 26 near a dumpsite off Highway 12 near Milepost 315, said Miel Corbett, Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman. Initial reports that the bird was dead when it was found were incorrect, she said.
The person who found the eagle contacted a wildlife rehabilitation center, but the bird’s injury was so serious it had to be euthanized, Corbett said. The wildlife rehabilitation center, which was not identified, notified authorities.
Hunting golden eagles is illegal. There is a black market for eagle feathers, but Fish and Wildlife does not know if that played a role in the shooting, Corbett said.
Bald and golden eagles are protected by three federal laws: The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Lacey Act. The laws prohibit the possession, use and sale of eagle feathers and parts and other activities, including the transportation of eagles and feathers that have been illegally obtained.
Golden eagles are large birds that may grow up to 3 feet tall and have a 7-foot wingspan, Corbett said. The larger the bird, the more cautious the public needs to be that they could be an eagle that is protected by law, she said.
Golden eagles are dark brown but have a golden color on the back of their head and neck and often have some gray on their inner wing and tail. They are among the fastest birds of prey and often hunt mammals like ground squirrels and rabbits for food, according to Fish and Wildlife.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Fish and Wildlife at 509-727-8358.