Just plain sad. Someone shot and killed a bald eagle in central Kansas and game wardens are searching for the shooter.

Kansas Game Wardens said the bald eagle was shot and killed sometime Wednesday morning below the Marion Reservoir's dam near Hillsboro, Kan. which is located just north of Wichita.

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Photo

game wardens posted on the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Facebook page.

Anyone with information is asked to call Operation Game Thief at 877-426-3843. All tips will remain anonymous.

The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States and is protected by federal law.

Kansas.com reports that the bald eagle population in the lower 48 states was down below 500 nesting pairs in the early 1960s, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Now, there are more than 5,000 nesting pairs in the same region, according to Defenders of Wildlife news releases. The North American population is estimated at 70,000 or more birds.

Illinois Audubon Society bird counters spotted nearly 6,000 bald eagles during their annual mid-winter count in January in Illinois. They said cold conditions in Minnesota and Wisconsin cause the number of eagles to surge compared to 2013, when counters reported 2,300 bald eagles across our state.