Lead poisoning of bald (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and golden (Aquila chrysaetos) eagles in the U.S. inland Pacific northwest region--an 18-year retrospective study: 1991-2008.

TitleLead poisoning of bald (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and golden (Aquila chrysaetos) eagles in the U.S. inland Pacific northwest region--an 18-year retrospective study: 1991-2008.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsStauber E, Finch N, Talcott PA, Gay JM
JournalJournal of avian medicine and surgery
Volume24
Issue4
Pagination279-87
Date Published2010 Dec
ISSN1082-6742
KeywordsAnimals, Bird Diseases, Eagles, Lead Poisoning, Retrospective Studies, United States
Abstract

To determine risk factors and seasonal trends of lead poisoning in bald (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and golden (Aquila chrysaetos) eagles, blood lead levels were evaluated in eagles admitted from the inland Pacific Northwest region of the United States to the Raptor Rehabilitation Program, College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University from 1991 to 2008. Admissions were from Washington (32 bald eagles, 27 golden eagles), northern Idaho (21 bald eagles, 25 golden eagles), northeastern Oregon (5 bald eagles, 6 golden eagles), Montana (2 bald eagles), Alaska (1 bald eagle), and unrecorded (6 bald eagles, 5 golden eagles). In these birds, 48% (22/46) of bald and 62% (31/50) of golden eagles tested had blood lead levels considered toxic by current standards. Of the bald and golden eagles with toxic lead levels, 91% (20/22) and 58% (18/31) respectively, were admitted after the end of the general deer and elk hunting seasons in December. Coyote hunting intensifies with the end of the large game hunting seasons and coyote carcasses left in the field and contaminated with lead bullet fragments become readily available food sources, exposing scavenging bald and golden eagles to high risk of acute lead poisoning.

DOI10.1111/j.1365-3164.2011.00980.x
Alternate JournalJ. Avian Med. Surg.