The eagle found shot in the wing near Starved Rock State Park Sunday has undergone surgery and is expected to recover, a veterinarian said Wednesday.
Conservation police saw the eagle struggling to fly along the Illinois River west of the state park near Hebron, the Chicago Tribune reported. They grabbed the bird and brought it to an animal clinic in Streator
"He's doing very well today," Robert Harms, a veterinarian at Countryside Animal Clinic, told the Tribune. "This morning, he's bright, strong, alert. Starting to be a little more aggressive today, which is good."
Harms told the Tribune that shotgun pellets had fractured various bones on the eagle's wings, and from the size of the pellets he believes the weapon was a shotgun and the shooting was not an accident.
The eagle will be transferred to the Hoo Haven Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center in Durand for further treatment as early as Thursday, said Harms.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources issued a statement asking for anyone with information to contact them. The conservation police are working with the Bureau-Putnam County Crime Stoppers, who is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for anyone with information that could lead to a conviction in the case, according to the IDNR.
Bald eagles are protected under federal laws, said The IDNR, and violators could face up to one year in prison and fines up to $100,000.
The IDNR is asking those with information to call its hot-line at 877-236-7529.