by Geoff Fox
If you heard a bang early Monday morning, August 28, it wasn’t a gunshot. It was a bird flying into an electric line along Main Street on the east end of Hancock.
The bald eagle, possibly coming from the Potomac River, flew into the lines around 7:40 a.m. and fell to the sidewalk below.
According to Lydia Manning, another eagle was circling above for a few minutes until more people gathered on the street below and it flew off.
Manning placed a call to 911 with dispatchers telling her to remain on scene until the proper authorities showed up. Manning was told she wasn’t allowed to touch or move the bird under federal law.
A bald eagle is a federally protected bird under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
When Hancock Officer Shawn Faith arrived on scene, he wasn’t able to touch or move the bird until given permission.
Once given permission, Faith was able to remove the bird from the sidewalk and take it back to the police department until federal authorities were able to pick it up.
Under federal law, it is illegal for people to own any eagle part or feathers in their possession.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service collect any deceased eagle – bald or golden – where it is then given to the National Eagle Repository.
Only members of recognized tribes are able to order eagle parts or feathers through the National Eagle Repository.