A piece of lead the size of a grain of rice is enough to kill an eagle!

We really do have to spread this information to those that do not read bird blogs or belong to groups advocating for the banning of all lead in hunting and fishing equipment. Since the fall when hunting season began, wildlife rehabbers have, on their FB pages, testified to the huge toll lead takes on Bald Eagles. It isn’t just eagles – other raptors show up with lead poisoning, too.

I am going to attach the article that my friend sent to me about the use of copper bullets instead of lead. It is a really good read and after trying to take out the good bits and deciding they were all good, I hope that you can read it. I have been able to enlarge it as wide as I can.

The article makes it very clear that they are not against hunting. They simply want the hunters to reflect on their practices and change to ammunition that does not harm or kill wildlife. The return of the Bald Eagle after them being almost completely wiped DDT is being ‘stunned’ by the deaths caused by lead. There is an alternative: copper. There is another and that is stainless steel. A supplier in my City has the stainless steel and copper bullets priced at $1.50 a box more than lead. I do wish they would just stop buying the lead.

Today, Badger Run Wildlife Rehab posted the following information. I am copying and pasting it here to add to that included in the newspaper article. We can never get enough information and clarification!

HOW are Bald Eagles exposed to the lead, which leads to their poisoning?

Lead “toxicosis” occurs when a bird ingests lead. It’s a neurotoxin & at low levels leads to lethargy often where the bird does not have the energy to find food & simply dies of starvation. The more lead present in the system the more pronounced the symptoms can become including confusion, respiratory distress, convulsions, organ failure, etc. And it also depends on the individual bird. We have had a hawk test very low for lead in the blood (only about 6 ug/dL), but have severe symptoms which resolved following treatment.

There are 2 major ways lead gets into the environment where birds eat it. First, you have the waterfowl (especially swans, ducks, geese) that eat “grit” to help digest their food. Sometimes that grit contains leftover lead shot from 20+ years ago when lead ammo was legal for hunting waterfowl. Other times, it comes from lost lead fishing tackle/sinkers. These birds not only suffer lead poisoning, but predators that eat them also ingest the lead in their system. That 2nd group of birds that commonly suffer lead poisoning includes the birds of prey that eat animals that are tainted with lead. So other than eating tainted waterfowl (eagles, especially) these birds eat mammals that have been tainted with lead. Any gut pile left behind above ground by a hunter using lead ammo has left a yummy lead poisoned meal for any bird of prey finding it. Likewise, anyone shooting small mammals like gophers & prairie dogs with lead who leaves these carcasses above group also is leaving poisonous food for birds of prey.

Can mammalian predators also get lead poisoning by eating left over lead ammo? Yes, but mammals usually have much less acidic stomachs which makes them better as digesting lead particles before they pass through their guts. Birds also have “grinding stomachs” that further help to deliver lead to their bloodstreams.

A piece of lead the size of a grain of rice is enough to kill an eagle!”

You can find more information at http://huntingwithnonlead.org/index.html

Birds like Loons and Swans also suffer a very high incidence of lead poisoning because they ingest the lead sinkers that break off of fishing tackle. Geese and ducks have been protected with lead ammunition being banned they would skin the lead pellets off the water and eat them!

There are many hunters who are supporting the ‘Ban the lead Movement’ and spreading good information educating the general population. You can help, too!

All of the eagles and all those fluffy little chicks thank you for helping them! As well as the waterfowl who ingest all those lead sinkers!!!!!!!! Remember it is an easy fix.

Thank you for joining us this morning. All is well with Ervie. Him and Dad are spending the night on the barge at Port Lincoln and the camera appears stable! Take care. Oh, and before I forget, Dyson and all the garden gang want to wish each of you a very happy Valentine’s Day.

“flower” by kissmuch 

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: NEFlorida Bald Eagles and the AEF, KNF Bald Eagles, and Pix Cams.


  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Thank you Mary Ann for this most informative information and photos! Can we use the article to post on our Facebook or somewhere too?
    So glad Ervie is with Dad and they are enjoying time together .
    Thanks for all you do!
    Have a nice Valentine’s Day!

    1. Dear Linda, I would be delighted if you spread that great article around. I know the woman who sent it to me would like that, too. It is very even-handed which is good. And, yes, dear Ervie. Ervie and Dad. I wish I could figure out how to do a t-shirt with both of them on it. They are quite the pair. Maybe Mum told Dad not to come on the Old Barge as long as he feeds Ervie!!!!!!! Who knows but they are adorable and I am extremely grateful for these Osprey fathers who continue to provide food to their kids long after it is necessary. White YW did that with Tiny Little Bob aka Blue 463 at Cumbria. They have a special place in my heart. Happy Valentine’s to you and all your family.

      1. LindaKontol says:

        Thank you Mary Ann! I hope all the right persons see this or hear about it 🙏

      2. You are so very welcome. It is an easy fix. Easy. I don’t know why it just isn’t made into legislation. It isn’t like the rights of hunters are in jeopardy. It is actually safer for them to not use lead either! Handling it is very dangerous.

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