Saturday, March 12, 2011


The bald eagle that was shot Valentines week is hooded for transport for emergency care. 
photo with permission from MDNRE
According to the Genesee County Prosecutors Office an arrest warrant has been issued for 65 year old James A Nelson on charges of  violation of  the Bald Eagle Protection Act and  Reckless Discharge of a Firearm.  The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment became aware of the injured eagle in a corn stubble field  in Gaines Township shortly after Valentines Day. A rescue team organized by Senior Wildlife Biologist Julie Oaks of the DNRE, with assistance from  Detroit Zoo bird experts and several licensed falconers captured the eagle. When X-Rays confirmed the gunshot, the law enforcement division of the MDNRE began a field investigation and shared information with the media in the hopes of getting tips.

Shortly after the shooting was reported in this blog, and later shared with other news outlets, tips came into the DNRE's 24 hour Report All Poaching Line (800-292-7800).  Several tips - supplied by the public after reading the news reports - lead Conservation Officer Mark Papineau of the DNRE  to the suspect's residence. After  interviewing the suspect and collection of balllistic evidence that was tested at the State Police Lab and incriminating statements made by Nelson, the warrant was issued.  Nelson, a resident of Gaines Township will be arrainged on the two charges in Genesee County  District Court on April 4th.

Eagle Update:  It is believed that the eagle is the same one that frequented northern Oakland County and had been seen numerous times near Seven Lakes State Park and the Village of Holly. The eagle, a five year old adult male, remains in rehab in Monroe, Michigan  and according to Papineau is doing extremely well.  It is hoped the eagle may be able to be released to the wild this spring.  (Updates will be posted on Earth Almanac when available)

Kudos to CO Papineau for his excellent detailed investigation and to the public for their  valuable cooperation in this senseless shooting of our federally protected bald eagle. Your tips led to the arrest warrant! For more on your Michigan Dept of Natural Resources and Environment Conservation Officers see   Be sure to see the DNRE video, Shields of Gold showing some of the work of your CO's.


Blogger Pat said...

Yay! One more idiot held accountable.

March 12, 2011 at 8:09 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the man would have urinated on the Washington Monument he would have gotten five years. If you shoot a national symbol, you get a 90 day misdemeanor that he will probably not even serve out. But there seems there would have been some OTHER charges. What (bird) was he hunting that time of year? Did he have a license to hunt said prey? Obviously he is a crappy hunter if he can not identify what he is shooting at! It is not like a EAGLE in the standing position in a corn field looks like ANY other bird. Differently not like... lets say... a turkey, a pheasant, morning doves. Just seems like a 65 year old MORON should be held more accountable for his moronic action! You would think that a Eagle being the symbol of our entire national, that shooting one would be a FEDERAL offense!!!

March 12, 2011 at 9:32 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great job reporting, and great outcome for both law enforcement and the eagle!

March 12, 2011 at 1:45 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shooting an Eagle, our National Bird should be a Federal offense.

March 16, 2011 at 3:36 AM 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home