Federally protected birds shot in Virginia Beach

(Photo provided by Barbara Gipson)
(Photo provided by Barbara Gipson)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Officials in Virginia Beach say a dozen birds have been shot with blow darts in the city, causing the slow death of at least one.

Barbara Gipson, Wildlife Director for the Virginia Beach SPCA, said a couple birds get shot every year. But this year, they started seeing injured birds earlier — in May. Now at least 12 have been shot, two that still need to be caught and treated.

A lot of times the darts hit the birds in the chest or head, and they continue to fly, so the dart can be moved, and that will kill the bird, Gipson said.

And that’s exactly what happened to one of the 12 birds.

Gipson said Virginia Beach Animal Control is aware of the problem, but there have been no witnesses to the bird shootings — which are federal crimes. Gipson said every bird that’s been found injured has been federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

She also said birds that congregate in groups have been targeted. Some of the injured birds include two Canadian Geese and several different types of gulls.

Several have been found on Shore Drive, near the Lesner Bridge. The geese were found near the Chimney Hill Area — Gipson said they have problems in that area every year. And a large gull was found at Princess Anne and Lynnhaven.

If you have any information about the bird dart shootings, call Virginia Beach Animal Control at 757-385-4444.

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