MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Wildlife officials have determined that a bald eagle found near Albert Lea, which was initially believed to have been poached, likely died from being struck by a car.
WCCO previously reported that a Minnesota Department of Transportation worker found the large bird on one of the MnDOT properties just south of Albert Lea back on March 20. The eagle was in a plastic bag, breasted out, with its talons and a portion of one leg missing.
Investigators at the time asked the public to help with the case, believing someone poached the bird.
However, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Tina Shaw on Monday said a necropsy determined the bird was first struck by a car and later partially eaten by other animals.
No foul play is suspected and the case is now closed.
Shaw said the case highlights the need to contact authorities if and when an eagle is found dead. The remains then go to the National Eagle Repository. From there, feathers and other remains can be disseminated to indigenous people, who are the only people with the legal right to possess eagle feathers and parts.
All protected animals are sent to a lab in Oregon for necropsies.