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Bald Eagle Being Treated For Lead Poisoning

The Chocolay Raptor Center is caring for a bald eagle recovering from apparent lead poisoning.

The raptor was rescued from a tree in Menominee where it was reportedly found hanging upside down.

The animal was emaciated, dehydrated, and had a depressed demeanor.

Further tests showed the eagle had extremely high levels of lead in its blood and should have been fatal.

The bird is being treated for the condition and the center is hopeful it will recover.

Studies in the upper Midwest have shown that lead poisoning of eagles peaks in late fall and early winter, coinciding with deer hunting seasons in that area.

Because this bird was found in August and was seen eating fish near Lake Michigan, it likely was exposed to lead through lead fishing tackle that contaminated the fish.

The Raptor Center in St. Paul, one of the preeminent raptor care centers in the US, documented that 90% of the 120-130 eagles they treat every year have elevated lead levels, and 20-25% have clinical lead poisoning; most die.

Both area-wide studies of where the lead poisoned birds are located, and isotope studies of the poisoning lead compared to lead ammo, confirm that deer hunting using lead ammo is the single most virulent cause of lead poisoning in these magnificent birds.

The Chocolay Raptor Center encourages people not to use lead in either hunting or fishing gear.

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