Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Eagle's fatal shooting in Seminole ignites outrage

ST. PETERSBURG — The X-ray showed a metal fragment lodged in the bald eagle's wing.

Rescuers concluded the bird died Tuesday from a gunshot. The news has prompted donations totaling $4,000 in reward money for information leading to the killer.

Rescuers say they won't know for sure how the eagle was killed until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducts a necropsy.

But bird lovers are saddened — if not surprised — to think that someone shot the eagle.

"I've been here 26 years. I've see a lot," said Barbara Suto, hospital supervisor at the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, which took the injured eagle in after it was spotted in Seminole on Monday.

Though eagles are prized as the national symbol and protected by federal law, they are no longer endangered and have been victims before. Earlier this month, federal prosecutors charged a man with shooting a bald eagle in Ruskin.

The bald eagle has rebounded since the pesticide DDT, which damaged bird eggs, was banned in 1972.

More than 3,400 eagles are estimated to live in Florida, the second-largest population in the nation, trailing only Minnesota.

In 2007, the federal government took the bald eagle off the endangered species list, though it's still protected by federal and state law. People convicted of killing eagles face up to a year in prison and fines.

Ulgonda Kirkpatrick, eagle plan coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said state guidelines restrict how close developers can build next to eagle nests.

Because of those protections, she gets calls from homeowners who are upset that eagles are nesting on their property.

She said that never justifies killing the majestic birds.

"I don't understand why someone would ever want to harm, let alone kill, a bird that is just so magnificent," she said.

Times staff writers Kameel Stanley and Emily Nipps and Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

View Larger Map

Fast facts

How to help

Above, Liz Vreeland of Suncoast Bird Sanctuary carries the eagle rescued near 113th Street and 84th Avenue N in Seminole. Anyone with information on its injuries can call Janet Rider of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (352) 429-1037 or e-mail

Eagle's fatal shooting in Seminole ignites outrage 01/28/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 4, 2009 11:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs couldn't connect on or stop deep passes in loss to Vikings


    If two things were established as storylines entering Sunday's Bucs-Vikings game, it was that Tampa Bay was still struggling to establish the deep passes that were missing from its offense last year, and that …

    Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) gets into the end zone for a long touchdown reception as Bucs free safety Chris Conte (23) cannot stop him during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  2. Who is Alejandro Villanueva? The Steelers player and Army veteran who stood alone now has the NFL's top-selling jersey


    CHICAGO — When the national anthem started at Soldier Field on Sunday, the visiting sideline was mostly empty. The most prominent evidence of the Pittsburgh Steelers was offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva, a former Army Ranger, standing all by himself near the tunnel, holding his right hand over his heart.

    Alejandro Villanueva stands alone during the national anthem at Soldier Field in Chicago. [Associated Press]
  3. 'Battle of the Sexes' is a fine time capsule comedy, and not really about the tennis


    In 1973, tennis champion Billie Jean King joined a two-ring circus with hustler Bobby Riggs, billed as a Battle of the Sexes amid the women's liberation movement. Fifty million Americans watched the pop spectacle on TV.

    Emma Stone and Steve Carell in the film "Battle of the Sexes." [Fox Searchlight Pictures.]
  4. Hillsborough will not add extra days for storm


    Public school students in Hillsborough County do not have to come to school for additional days to make up for time missed in Hurricane Irma, the district announced Monday.

  5. Tom Cruise's son Connor Cruise to DJ Halloween party at Tampa's Hard Rock Cafe


    Whenever Tom Cruise comes to Clearwater on Church of Scientology business, he keeps a low profile. Occasionally he'll Connor Cruise attended Wild 94.1 Wild Splash in 2016.