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A group caring for an eaglet that was orphaned this week after its mother was killed said Friday that the baby bird is doing well.

Authorities said Orlando David Delgado, 17, killed a bald eagle Tuesday in the Woodland Oaks neighborhood next to the White Oak Bayou.

A witness said he saw Delgado and two other people standing near the base of a tree where the eagle had nested for a few years. The witness said he later found the eagle dead, but before authorities arrived, Delgado and two other people returned and pulled a feather from the eagle’s remains.

Authorities said Delgado admitted to shooting and killing the bird.

He was charged with hunting without the landowner’s consent. He was also cited for the take of a state threatened species.

Federal officials said that in the days that followed, game wardens noticed that the eagle’s mate was circling the nest, indicating the presence of fledglings. They also noticed that the mate did not appear to be taking food to the nest.

Wildlife officials coordinated a recovery effort, and an eaglet, between 5 and 6 weeks old, was found in the nest. The baby bird was taken to the Wildlife Center of Texas, where it was found to be dehydrated and hungry.

WCT posted Friday on Facebook a picture of the eaglet, and said the bird was doing well.

The group told KPRC 2 that the baby bird will be taken to a surrogate facility in the San Antonio area after it has been evaluated.

Officials said Delgado faces fines and possible jail time if convicted.

Congress chose the bald eagle as the national symbol of the United States in 1782. The animal was granted federal protection in 1940.

Copyright 2017 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.

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