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. Meet 'rave pops,' the EDM-loving, hard-dancing 72-year-old who went viral via the Sunset Music Festival (w/video)

    Music & Concerts

    Alan Grofé is a 72-year-old, semi-retired entrepreneur and former tech executive with frost-white hair, two grown children and five grandchildren.

    Alan Grofe dances at the Electric Daisy Carnival festival in Orlando in 2016. [aLIVE Coverage for Insomniac]
  2. Humana adding 200 telemarketing jobs in Tampa Bay

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Health insurance company Humana Inc. is hiring more than 200 workers in Tampa Bay. The Louisville, Ky.-based company said Wednesday that the new positions will focus on phone sales for Humana's direct marketing services department.

    Humana is adding 200 positions to its Tampa office. Theo Sai, chief medical officer for seniro products at Humana, is pictured in the company's Tampa executive office in 2015. | Rachel Crosby, Times
  3. Congressman wants Trump to pay for Mar-a-Lago travel


    WASHINGTON -- This bill won’t go anywhere, but give Rep. Alcee Hastings creative points with the TRUMPED Act, aka Taxpayers Require Urgent Mandatory Protection from Egregious Debt Act of 2017:

  4. U.S. President Donald Trump and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel walk together during arrival at Melsbroek Military Airport in Melsbroek, Belgium on Wednesday. US President Donald Trump is in Belgium to attend a NATO summit and to meet EU and Belgian officials. [AP photo]
  5. If Tony Dungy sticks around, he'll broadcast the 2021 Tampa Super Bowl for NBC


    Lost in the Super Tuesday news of the Super Bowl coming back to Tampa was this nugget:

    Pictured, from left, Dan Patrick, co-Host, Tony Dungy, studio analyst, Aaron Rodgers. [Ben Cohen/NBC]