In Wendi Pencille's freezer sits a potent example of federal gridlock: A dead bald eagle.
Pencille, a licensed volunteer wildlife rehabilitator who lives in Medina, Orleans County, takes care of orphaned and injured birds of prey, including seven eagles over the past three years. One of them died recently.
Normally when this happens, Pencille sends the remains to the National Eagle Repository outside Denver, Colo. This U.S. Fish and Wildlife program ships eagle carcasses, feathers or others parts to Native Americans in federally recognized tribes for use in traditional ceremonies.
But with the government shutdown, Pencille said repository staff recently told her not to ship the eagle because no one would be available to receive and move it to their freezer.
"I said maybe I should send it to a congressman instead," she said.
The repository is the only place to legally obtain eagle remains. U.S. Fish and Wildlife offices are now closed because of the federal shutdown.
Pencille, who volunteers with the Bless the Beasts Foundation, said she only sends one or two birds a year to the repository. For now, the eagle remains in a freezer she keeps for wildlife remains.
"I'd love to get it out of here now," she said.
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle