Eagles are being poisoned and humans are to blame


In 2021 alone, three bald eagles died due to lead poisoning.

Lead poisoning of our country’s national bird is really starting to become a problem.

“Particularly in March, we pick up a lot of eagles both dead, sick injured eagles. Really see an uptick in the number of eagles with lead exposure poisoning when deer hunting starts,” Ed Britton with Savanna District Upper Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge states, according to Quad Cities.

How are they getting sick? According to a 2014 study, the answer might be related to hunting.

Britton went on to explain, “When eagles turn into scavengers they find these protein piles really quickly... When they look at the amount of lead they had in their system some of them were 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 times the amount of lead that would’ve killed an eagle and a piece of lead fragment as small as a piece of rice if ingested by an eagle is enough to kill it.”

Some of the lead fragments found in prey and carcasses could be leftovers from an uneventful hunt. One expert wants hunters to understand what type of shot they are using.

Another issue facing the bald eagle is rat poison.

A new study showed that out of 133 eagles that were tested by researchers, more than 80 percent had rat poison in their system.

“Although the exact pathways of exposure remain unclear, eagles are likely exposed through their predatory and scavenging activities,” Dr. Mark Ruder, an assistant professor at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine explains, according to CNN.

The common hypothesis is that the eagles are eating house rats that were exposed to the poison.

Harvard University’s Scott Edwards adds, “Human’s need to understand that when those compounds get into the environment, they cause horrible damage to many species, including our national symbol...”

Story via Karla Sosa with Quad Cities and Megan Marples with CNN