Two men confessed to shooting and killing a two-year-old bald eagle near Manistee on Saturday, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
They allegedly thought the eagle was a goose when they shot it. The bird was eventually found alive by conservation officers, who took it to Wings of Wonder rehabilitation center in Leelanau where it was euthanized on Monday.
“The pellets caused multiple fractures in both of her wings, some of which had completely shattered some of the bones,” said Rebecca Lessard, Wings of Wonder executive director in a DNR press release. “There was just too much damage; she was not a surgical candidate.”
The two men, ages 53 and 24, were from New Boston, Michigan. The case has been handed to the Manistee County Prosecutor's Office who will determine if they will be charged with a crime.
Bald eagles are protected under federal law. Penalties for killing one range from a $5,000 fine to a two-year prison sentence.