by Denise Chow, Sci-Tech Editor | February 23, 2016 02:36pm ET
Thirteen bald eagles were found dead recently in Maryland, prompting officials to offer a reward of up to $10,000 for information about what happened to the federally protected birds of prey. The eagles were found in Federalsburg, Maryland, on Feb. 20, after a local resident reported seeing several of the dead birds in a field, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Maryland Natural Resources Police.
Bald eagles were listed as an endangered species in the lower 48 states after the birds nearly went extinct in the 1960s. Though bald eagles are no longer listed under the Endangered Species Act, they are still federally protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, enacted in 1940, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, according to the FWS. These federal laws carry maximum fines of $100,000 and $15,000, respectively, and violators could face up to one year in prison, agency officials said.
The FWS is offering up to $2,500 for information about the dead bald eagles. The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are also contributing up to $5,000. The Phoenix Wildlife Center, Inc., a wildlife rehabilitation center located in Phoenix, Maryland, is also offering $2,500 in exchange for information, according to the FWS.