Humans blamed for deaths of 13 bald eagles in Maryland

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

Report: Natural Causes Ruled Out in Deaths of 13 Bald Eagles

(Reuters) -- The deaths of 13 bald eagles in Maryland's largest die-off of the U.S. national bird in three decades were caused by humans, officials said on Thursday.

Lab results showed that the eagles did not die of natural causes, including diseases such as avian influenza, said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Catherine Hibbard. The agency declined to say whether the birds were poisoned.

Maryland Natural Resources police received a call on Feb. 20 reporting four dead eagles near Federalsburg in the eastern part of the state. Officers arrived and discovered nine more dead birds nearby.

The bald eagle, which almost disappeared from the United States decades ago, was removed from the federal endangered species list in 2007 after habitat protection and the banning of the pesticide DDT led to its recovery.

The federally protected bird is a symbol of the U.S. government and is featured on currency and in the presidential seal.

The maximum fine for harming a bald eagle is $100,000 and up to one year in prison, Hibbard said.

RELATED: See more bald eagle sightings in the gallery below

36 PHOTOS
Bald eagle
See Gallery
Humans blamed for deaths of 13 bald eagles in Maryland
Bald eagle
Kachemak Bay, Cook Inlet, Alaska, USA
ALEXANDRIA VA, JANUARY 31: A pair of bald eagles rest on a branch of a tulip poplar tree near Alexandria VA, January 31, 2016. (Photo by John McDonnell / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 31: Challenger, a Bald Eagle, lands with its handler after flying through the stadium prior to the Goodyear Cotton Bowl between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Michigan State Spartans at AT&T Stadium on December 31, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 31: Challenger, a Bald Eagle, soars through the stadium prior to the Goodyear Cotton Bowl between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Michigan State Spartans at AT&T Stadium on December 31, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 22: Challenger The Bald Eagle makes an appearance during Salute To Services day at NRG Stadium on November 22, 2015 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 22: An American Bald Eagle is released before the Houston Texans play the New York Jets on November 22, 2015 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
PONTE VEDRA, FL - OCTOBER 02: A bald eagle as seen during the second round of the Web.com Tour Championship at the TPC Sawgrass Dye's Valley Course on October 2, 2015 in Ponte Vedra, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Ben Postlethwait is greeted by a pair of screaming Bald Eagle chicks as he gets his first glimpse inside a nest on May 7, 2015 near Milford Reservoir in Kansas. A third chick is in seen in the center. The photo was made with a remote camera mounted to Postlethwait's helmet. (Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
A biologist takes measurements of a bald eagle chick's beak before placing bands on its legs as part of an annual project that places leg bands on some Kansas bald eagle chicks on May 7, 2015 near Mildford Lake, Kan. (Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
TURNER, ME - JULY 10: A Bald Eagle flies overhead at the Riverlands State Park, Maine's newest state park, and the trail network, in Turner. (Photo by Gordon Chibroski/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 28: A bald eagle at Muhammad Ali's Celebrity Fight Night XXI at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa on March 28, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Celebrity Fight Night)
ROCK ISLAND, IL - JANUARY 11: Bald eagles fly over the fish at Mississippi River on January 11, 2015 in Rock Island, Illinois. (Photo by Gabriel Grams/Getty Images)
ROCK ISLAND, IL - JANUARY 11: An bald eagle attempts to catch a fish at Mississippi River on January 11, 2015 in Rock Island, Illinois. (Photo by Gabriel Grams/Getty Images)
ROCK ISLAND, IL - JANUARY 11: A bald eagle catches a fish at Mississippi River on January 11, 2015 in Rock Island, Illinois. (Photo by Gabriel Grams/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 07: Lewis the bald eagle flies on the field prior to the National Anthem in Game Four of the National League Divison Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 7, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
PEMBROKE PINES, FL - APRIL 28: American Bald Eagles are sighted on April 28, 2014 in Pembroke Pines, Florida. (Photo by Larry Marano/GC Images)
PEMBROKE PINES, FL - APRIL 28: American Bald Eagle is sighted on April 28, 2014 in Pembroke Pines, Florida. (Photo by Larry Marano/GC Images)
PEMBROKE PINES, FL - APRIL 28: American Bald Eagle is sighted on April 28, 2014 in Pembroke Pines, Florida. (Photo by Larry Marano/GC Images)
MEAD, CO - JANUARY 6, 2014: A bald eagle perches high up in a cottonwood tree near Mead, Co on January 7, 2014. (Photo By Helen H. Richardson/ The Denver Post)
MEAD, CO - JANUARY 6, 2014: Two bald eagles perch high up in a cottonwood tree near Mead, Co on January 7, 2014. (Photo By Helen H. Richardson/ The Denver Post)
BROOKFIELD, IL - NOVEMBER 14: A Bald Eagle, sits proudly atop a tree at Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois on NOVEMBER 14, 2013. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)
Bald eagle in National Aviary, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Photo by: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 09: A Bald Eagle is seen at the Bronx Zoo after a snow storm on February 9, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
DARLINGTON, MD - NOVEMBER 29: An American bald eagle prepares to snag a perch in the prime fishing grounds below Conowingo Dam in Darlington, MD on November 29, 2012. On most days between Thanksgiving and into January, the shallow waters becomes a prime spot to watch 20-50 eagles hunt for prey along the Susquehanna river. Fish that are sucked through the dam turbines are easy pickings on the other side for eagles as well as buzzards, crows and seagulls. Once the first cold snaps hit in the north, the eagles migrate south for a few months. Wildlife photographers and bird enthusiasts far outnumber fishermen a the dam these days as they try to capture perfect shots of eagles hunting, mid-air fights and dining on fish. Binoculars or high powered lenses are recommended if you want to see the birds up close. Photo shot with a Nikon 600mm f4 lens with a 1.4 teleconverter. (Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 03: A bald eagle, sits at Grant's Farm in St. Louis, Missouri on NOVEMBER 03, 2012. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
A bald eagle carrying prey lands Thursday, January 12, 2012 as a Waning Gibbous moon sets in the western sky in Sanford, Florida. (Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 11: The bald eagle 'Liberty' is presented prior to the game between the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on September 11, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 17: An American Bald Eagle soars into Great American Ball Park prior to the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds on June 17, 2011 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Cincinnati Reds 3-2. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
Bald Eagle at the Hawk Conservancy, Andover, May 15, 2010. (Photo by Jesse Wild/Digital Camera magazine via Getty Images)
Lynda White holds bald eagle from the Audubon Birds of Prey center in Maitland, Florida, during the Memorial Day service at Woodlawn Memorial Park and Funeral Home in Orlando, Florida, Monday, May 25, 2009. (Photo by George Skene/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)
JULY 3, 2008. ORANGE, CA. Animals at the Orange County Zoo in Orange, CA on July 3, 2008. The OC Zoo is a repository for animals with rap sheets: ordinary critters with extraordinary stories. Klink, a 35ÂyearÂold bald eagle (named after the Hogan's Heroes colonel) hobbles when he walks, has no right eye and is disfigured along his right side, presumably because he was shot by a shotgun, though no one knows for sure. 'Frequently there are holes in the information,' said zoo curator David Merner. (Photo by Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 28: Challenger, a a 19-year-old male bald eagle, flies near the Jefferson Memorial during a news conference with Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, June 28, 2007, in Washington, D.C. Kempthorne declared that the national bird is no longer threatened with extinction after four decades on the endangered species list. (Photo by Carol T. Powers/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Challenger, a Bald Eagle, is shown in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, in February 2007. The Bald Eagle has been removed from the list of endangered species. (Photo by Chuck Kennedy/MCT/MCT via Getty Images)
Challenger, a Bald Eagle, is shown in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, in February 2007. The Bald Eagle has been removed from the list of endangered species. (Photo by Chuck Kennedy/MCT/MCT via Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Read Full Story

People are Reading