A rough-legged hawk was euthanized by the Teton Raptor Center after it was found with shotgun wounds by Idaho Department of Fish and Game officers over the weekend.
Raptor Center program associate Meghan Warren said the bird was illegally shot.
Idaho Fish and Game confirmed two other rough-legged hawks were also illegally shot this week, all in the same area west of Idaho Falls. One of the birds did not survive. The other was en route to the Wilson area center for treatment.
An X-ray on the hawk that was taken to the center’s location in Wilson, Wyo., showed three pellet fragments in addition to a through-and-through wound to the right wing. The hawk had a pellet lodged in each ankle and one its abdomen. A fourth pellet went completely through the right wing near the elbow resulting in a complete break to both the ulna and radius.
Although the wing may have been repaired with surgery, the center determined the hawk’s left leg would never be functional because of nerve damage. Because of the injuries, the hawk was humanely euthanized.
Warren said rough-legged hawks and all birds of prey are protected under the U.S. Migratory Bird Act.
She said rough-legged hawks are not commonly admitted to the center. The hawks migrate to Idaho and Wyoming from the Arctic and are named for the feathering that extends down the leg to where their toes begin.
Idaho Fish and Game authorities are seeking any information that may lead to those responsible for the shooting. Call (208) 525-7290.