(Harlan) The Eagle found dead last month on a gravel road 5-miles east of Kirkman died of lead poisoning.
Audubon/Shelby County Naturalist Christina Roelofs initially thought the bird had been hit by a vehicle, or maybe shot.
“The eagle was x-rayed to make sure nobody had shot it and that didn’t reveal anything, and lead was not found in its system at the time either,” stated Roelofs. “However Kay Neuman, with Saving Our Avian Resources was able to squeeze some droppings from the dead bird and found that the eagle tested at a 35 for lead. A level of 10 is considered lead poisoning so it definitely died from lead poisoning.”
Roelofs says the lead probably came from another animal.
“Most likely it was feeding on a dead deer that had either been wounded by a hunter and died later or somebody just left it. When lead ammunition hits a deer it breaks up into lots of little fragments, and a piece of lead the size of an aspirin has enough lead in it to kill a bird.”
Roelofs plans on sending the dead eagles liver in for further testing.
February 2, 2012