Five bald eagles were found acting strangely and seemingly sick in northern Maryland, prompting an investigation by state wildlife officials.
William Fauntleroy found the birds Sunday in the Manchester area of Carroll County near the Pennsylvania border, The Washington Post reported. He said he saw an eagle near his mailbox that was acting weirdly and appeared to be unable to fly.
The group of birds was feeding on a deer carcass, according to Fauntleroy. One died after flying into a power line.
“I saw some were flying poorly,” Fauntleroy told the newspaper. “One seemed like it couldn’t get off the ground and couldn’t fly. It was acting like it was drunk.”
Wildlife rescuers took the four other eagles to the Phoenix Wildlife Center in Baltimore County. Maryland Natural Resources Police spokesperson Lauren Moses said her department is “actively investigating” to figure out what happened to the birds, which are a federally protected species.
The deer carcass the eagles ate was buried so no other wildlife would feed on it, according to Moses. She told The Post that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Officials were expected to take samples from the remains for analysis.
In a Facebook post Wednesday, the wildlife center where the birds are being cared for thanked people for checking on the eagles but said there was no update on the investigation.
“Was it poison? Was it an algae bloom? Was it something else?” the post said. “We don’t have answers yet.”