Three birds die from BB gunshot wounds in Naples

Birds in Southwest Florida were found brutalized. X-ray images show white dots where 38 BBs hit and eventually caused the death of a vulture. This bird and a bald eagle are among three federally protect birds recently found dead in the past week.

The vulture, a bald eagle and a hawk were all found shot — taken to Von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida in Naples for treatment — before they all died.

“The air kind of actually get sucked out of you,” said Joanna Fitzgerald, director of Von Arx Wildlife Hospital. “You’re like ‘ugh’ because you know what you’re dealing with now. It’s outright cruelty, and that’s pretty disheartening.”

Fitzgerald said people might shoot these birds because they think it’s funny or because they believe them to be a threat to their livestock.

“By the third animal, you’re just like come on,” Fitzgerald said. “This is so heartbreaking to see the suffering these animals endured. That’s where for us you feel it because it’s day-after-day.”

Vultures don’t eat live animals and play a huge role in the environment, eating dead animals, which takes away bacteria and disease.

“Vultures are unfortunately one of the most misunderstood animals that we see at the hospital,” Fitzgerald said. “They serve such an amazing purpose, but people don’t understand that purpose, which is unfortunate.”

The individual or individuals who shot the protected birds could face serious fines or even jail time.

Although Laura Jo Smith admits she doesn’t like vultures, she calls the violent behavior of whomever shot the defenseless birds senseless.

“Nasty, icky, eating dead animals, but I would never kill one,” Smith said.

Reporter:Hannah Vogel
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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