Written by Rick Vetter, Photos by Rick Vetter
A few weeks ago on a chilly January day, a friend of mine saw an eagle on that endless stretch of highway 20 between Bend and Burns, near Hampton. The sighting was notable because of its posture. When my spouse, Joan, and I were out there looking at common redpolls we found it, but we were not sure that it was the same eagle since it was up on the power line pole and in a bizarre position.
This massive bird was contorted such that its body was upside down on a tall power pole narrow cross beam. We speculated it was either electrocuted during the heavy frost that possibly shorted out the current on the pole or it was shot. Given the severity of the crime associated with option 2, I called Fish and Wildlife Service friend in Portland. The bird was retrieved by the power company and turned over to FWS for a necropsy. The evaluation determined that it was indeed shot. How it ended up upside down still baffles us.
During the bald eagle retrieval authorities also retrieved a golden eagle that was found dead with several dead coyotes that were shot at a carcass. The cause of death is unknown for the golden eagle but most likely it was shot or possibly poisoned. This is sad news and it documents the problem of eagles and other raptors being shot.