Patient #18336 was admitted yesterday from Matthews, NC. This adult red-shouldered hawk was captured by the finder after she saw it hobbling in her front yard. She had been watching this bird on and off for over a year, as it lived in her neighborhood, so she knew that this was not normal behavior.
During intake, we found the bird had deep wounds on the left and right side of the body. A radiograph confirmed that she has been shot. The bullet entered her right side, traveled through her chest, fractured her left coracoid, and exited the left side of her body. Both wounds were contaminated with maggots. We have stabilized her and she is looking much better today than she did yesterday. Prognosis is still guarded.
Raptors are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) was enacted in 1918. Although raptors were not protected by the original MBTA, they were later included as an amendment in 1972. The Bald Eagle has been protected since the enactment of the Eagle Act in 1940 and the Golden Eagle, also under the Eagle Act, since 1962.
According to the law, “Unless and except as permitted by regulations made as hereinafter provided, it shall be unlawful at any time, by any means or in any manner, to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, attempt to take, capture, or kill, possess, offer for sale, sell, offer to barter, barter, offer to purchase, purchase, deliver for shipment, ship, export, import, cause to be shipped, exported, or imported, deliver for transportation, transport or cause to be transported, carry or cause to be carried, or receive for shipment, transportation, carriage, or export, any migratory bird, any part, nest, or egg of any such bird, or any product, whether or not manufactured, which consists, or is composed in whole or in part, of any such bird or any part, nest or egg.”
Penalties for violations of the MBTA can reach $15,000 and six months imprisonment for common violations. The sale or barter of migratory birds is a felony with penalties up to $500,000 and two years imprisonment. Some raptors are also protected under the Endangered Species Act, and both the Bald and Golden Eagles are also protected under the Eagle Act.