2 teens charged after 5 pelicans shot dead at Illinois lake

CALIPATRIA, CA - JUNE 23: An American white pelican flies at dawn over the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, a major stop for birds on the Pacific Flyway, on June 23, 2006 near Calipatria, California. Californians are bracing for the possible arrival of the H5N1 bird flu to the West Coast later this summer in what could be the first sign of the deadly virus in the US as North American and Asian birds mingle before their southward migration. Government officials plan to test 75,000 to 100,000 wild birds this year in Alaska and other spots along the Pacific flyway, and will test around 50,000 water and bird dropping samples from waterfowl habitats along the way, as Interior Secretary Gale Norton stated reportedly. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

NEWTON, Ill.  — Two teenage boys have been charged in connection with five American White pelicans found shot dead at Newton Lake in Illinois.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says Monday that the boys are charged with unlawful take of migratory waterfowl with a rifle, among other counts.

Agency officials say the Jasper County state’s attorney filed charges Saturday after information was provided by the public. The boys aren’t being identified because they are juveniles.

Agency staff found the dead birds April 3. A sixth bird was injured and taken for treatment. The birds are protected by the federal Migratory Bird Act and by state law.

The birds migrate in spring from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada with stops in central Illinois. Adults are about 4-feet tall with a 9-foot wingspan.