Although investigators are not sure exactly how it was done, they think there is sufficient evidence to look into the possibility that a human killed the birds.
The notion that the 13 eagles died of a disease common to birds like avian influenza may have been initially plausible, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is far from convinced that this was the case. Instead, authorities will treat it as a crime, with them going as far to offer a reward for information about the perpetrator:
“‘Ruling out diseases such as avian influenza is important on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, which has many poultry farms and an abundance of migratory birds,' Catherine Hibbard of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a press release Thursday. ‘Our investigation is now focused on human causes and bringing to justice the person(s) responsible for the death of these eagles.'
Authorities have raised the reward to $25,000 for tips that lead to an arrest and conviction in the case.”