The following is a Point Pleasant Register article from November 19th 1966 titled "Our 'Bird' Has Law On Its Side".
If Mason County's "bird" should prove to be a Sandhill Crane, as by Dr. Robert Smith of the West Virginia University Biology department, then the law is on its side to provide protection.
Officials note that migratory birds of all kinds are protected by federal and state wildlife laws.
Millard Halstead, Mason County Sheriff's Deputy, said Friday, he has been in contact with Dr. Smith and from a comparison of descriptions feels that the "bird man" might be a Sandhill Crane. The bird stands five to six feet tall, has about 80-inch wing spread and has patches of red around its eyes.
Halstead said the bird is extremely rare, and he understands there are only 30 of them left in this country.
Sheriff George Johnson said he would arrest any persons caught in the TNT area with a loaded gun after dark. There were earlier reports of armed people roaming the area. Johnson has asked that residents not harm the bird.
Source: Mothman: The Facts Behind The Legend by Jeff Wamsley (2002) (Page 82)