On behalf of the Clayton County Conservation Board and animals at the Osborne Nature Center, we welcome you to our new innovative blog. On this site you can find information regarding the facilities of Osborne and a Google Calendar showing the public events being held here. Videos and slideshows are also located on the bottom of the page. Subscribe to our blog or check back often to view new happenings at Osborne and within Clayton County Conservation. We hope you find this blog to be enjoyable and informative-Remember to play outside.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lead Poisoning in Eagles

The increased number of resident Bald Eagle's in Iowa over the past 30 years has provided many people with a sense of awe and respect. However, recent data conducted by Iowa Wildlife Rehabilitators displays a saddening trend. Ingestion of Lead is becoming more common in Iowa's and other surrounding state's Eagles.

Since 2004, 133 sick eagles have been admitted to Iowa Wildlife Rehabilitators, 65 (58.5%) of those eagles have tested positive for lead poisoning; in 2009, 26 Eagles died because of lead ingestion.
During the winter months when eagles can not find food, they will scavenger for any large meal they may find; such as dead deer or deer gut piles. (Winter months also exhibit the highest number of admitted Bald Eagles in Iowa) Research conducted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources displayed how lead shot actually "fragments" in deer. This fragmentation allows particles of lead to be captured throughout the deer-thus possibly transmitting it to an opportunistic Eagle.

In 1991, due to severly declining waterfowl populations, the United States banned the use of lead shot in waterfowl bird hunting. In the near future, a similar type of law may be needed to protect the Bald Eagle and other birds of prey.  One thing is certain, more research needs to be done to ensure the Eagle does not appear on the endandged species list again and people need to be aware of the problems pertaining to lead shot use.  If you would like more information on this topic please click on:    Saving Our Avian Raptors

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