May 1, 2019 CHESTERTOWN, Md. — Federal and state officials are looking for information after seven bald eagles and a great-horned owl died due to poisonings in the Kent and Talbot counties.
The first reported poisoning happened on March 1 near Route 445 and Swan Creek Road in Chestertown. Six bald eagles and a great-horned owl died and several other eagles were significantly injured.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and Maryland Natural Resources Police have been investigating the intentional poisonings of foxes, raccoons and other “nuisance” animals in the area.
“They may be targeting foxes, raccoons, stuff like that,” Aaron Parker, Captin of U.S. Fish and Wildlife, said. “But the poison is so potent that when those animals eat it and die, then you have scavengers like eagles that come and eat off the fox, then the poison is transferred into them and kills them.”
Federal agents and NRP police have returned to the area on several occasions after people reported eagle carcasses in the area.
Then on April 3, police were called to a farm in Talbot County near Lewistown Road and Colby Road in Cordova. There they discovered three bald eagles were poisoned after eating from a fox carcass. One of the eagles died. Two others were treated for the poisoning and are in stable condition.
Authorities believe someone is placing “baits laced with carbofuran, one of the most toxic carbamate pesticides, in fields, along woods lines and even directly into fox dens.”
“Carbofuran, sold under the trade name Furadan, is known to be particularly toxic to birds. In its granular form, a single grain will kill a bird. Birds often eat numerous grains of the pesticide, mistaking them for seeds, and then die shortly thereafter,” NPR said in a press release.
USFWS and NRP are asking that anyone with information come forward.
Eagles may not be the primary target of the poisonings, but they are dying because Furudan is so toxic.
“Somebody knows who’s doing it, and instead of protecting them they need to come forward because these birds are protected,” Parker said.
In the Kent County incident, they believe the person placed the baits out in the open recklessly.
A total of 13 eagles were poisoned in a similar way in February 2016 in Federalsburg, Maryland.