Information sought on shooting of bald eagle in Cedar Rapids

Bald eagle. [photo courtesy Ty Smedes/Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation]

By Matt Kelly, Radio Iowa
The Iowa DNR is asking for help in finding the person who shot a bald eagle recently in eastern Iowa.

The eagle was discovered almost a month ago in southeastern Cedar Rapids. The call came in on January 9th about an injured eagle along the Cedar River near the Sac and Fox Trail. State Conservation Officer Travis Graves says it took a few weeks to corral the wounded raptor.

“Unfortunately, the bird was difficult to catch. We had multiple attempts and multiple people out there trying to capture the bird but it was unable to be captured because it could still get away from us,” Graves says. “It was recently captured, I believe it was last week. We worked with the wildlife rehabilitator and recently just found out that the bird had been shot.”

Due to the severity of the injuries, the eagle was euthanized. Sometimes trumpeter swans are shot, with hunters saying they mistook the birds for geese, but in the case of a bald eagle, Graves was asked if it may have been intentionally targeted.

“I would like to hope not but unfortunately, things like that do happen,” Graves says. “It’s hard to say. Sometimes we do have people mistake birds or animals for other types of animals that are legal to shoot. I wouldn’t say it’s as common for a bald eagle because they’re pretty distinctive and everyone knows what they are and they don’t really look like anything else.”

It’s possible the eagle may have been shot somewhere else and it only got as far as Cedar Rapids. Graves urges anyone with information about the eagle to call the state TIP or Turn In Poachers hotline at 800-532-2020.