The broken leg suffered by an American bald eagle that was rescued from a tree in Alexandria Township last week was the result of a gunshot wound, according to the Raptor Trust, one of the groups who participated in the three-day rescue of the bird.

An American bald eagle was rescue from an Alexandria, NJ tree last week. (Screenshot YouTube via The Raptor Trust)
An American bald eagle was rescue from an Alexandria, NJ tree last week. (Screenshot: YouTube/NJ Advance Media)

"First round of x-rays has show that the eagle's broken leg is the result of lead gunshot. Bird may have other pellets throughout it's body, but will need to be x-rayed more completely when it undergoes surgery on the leg, probably Sunday," the Raptor Trust said on its Facebook Page.

Wildlife experts spent days attempting to lure the eagle, with an injured leg, from the perch, with little success. Finally, on Thursday afternoon, the bird moved close enough for rescuers from the Raptor Trust to grab it and send it for treatment, NJ Advance media reported last week.

The publication reported that neighbors of Courtney Heath, in whose backyard tree the eagle was perched, first saw the bird on Monday. State officials responded, along with The Raptor Trust and Avian Wildlife Center to try and capture the bird using bait ranging from fish to a squirrel, but the eagle refused to budge for days.

The bird was not in good shape when it was taken from the tree. In addition to dehydration, the bird also had blood in it's mouth and it's broken, dangling leg was still bleeding. Wildlife experts took the bird for X-rays and emergency surgery.

Chris Soucy of the Raptor Trust told NJ Advance Media that shooting a bald  "is a violation of I can even tell you how many laws. It's an endangered species in this state, and it's the national symbol."

The bird continues to get treatment for it's injuries and authorities are working to determine what type of pellet was used to shoot the eagle.

According to Nj Advance Media, "the leg X-ray taken at The Raptor Trust is being sent to Kathy Clark, head of Division of Fish and Wildlife's Endangered and Non-Game Species Program, so team members can determine the type of pellet that injured the eagle."

Soucy said anyone with information can contact the Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-855-OGT-TIPS.

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