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Conservation Officers Search For Young Eaglets
Updated March 30, 2015 7:08 AM | Filed under: Crime
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(DUBOIS CO.) - Conservation officers began an air search Friday for the nest and possible young eaglets of a bald eagle that died after being shot in Dubois County.

The injured eagle was found March 19 and died while being moved to the Indiana Raptor Center in Nashville. X-rays showed bullet fragments in the eagle, which is believed to have been a male.

An examination also found the eagle had a bare spot on its abdomen called a brood patch that occurs when nesting eagles sit on eggs to warm them while their mate is hunting for food.

Conservation Officer Joe Haywood and fellow conservation officers used an airplane Friday to survey nearby eagle nesting sites to try to find a single-parent nest that could be that of the dead eagle's mate. Friday's air survey eliminated a couple of nests from the search, but the aircraft would be used in the coming days to identify "as many nests as possible."

"That's our challenge right now. We're trying to locate a single-parent nest at this point," Haywood told The Herald of Jasper.

Once several nests are identified, he said conservation officers would study them from the ground in hopes of finding the single-parent nest.

If the dead eagle's nest is found, conservation officers will monitor it to make sure its mate can provide food for their young. Haywood said the best-case scenario would be if the surviving eagle is managing to both hunt and care for its chicks. Much will depend on the age of the young birds. It's possible the eagle could abandon one or more chicks in an attempt to save one. If that happens, conservation officers would try to save all of the eaglets.

Conservation officers, meanwhile, are seeking the public's help in finding whoever shot the eagle. They can call the state Department of Natural Resources' tip line, at 1-800-TIP-IDNR.

There is a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to a conviction for the shooting.

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