Sixteen years of lead poisoning in eagles, 1980-95: An epizootiologic view

Janet L. Krämer, Patrick T. Redig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations

Abstract

A 16-yr (1980-95) retrospective study was conducted to assess differences in the prevalence of lead poisoning in Bald (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and Golden (Aquila chrysaetos) Eagles admitted to The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota. These years encompass the period before and after federal legislation was enacted restricting the use of lead shot for hunting waterfowl on federal lands (1991). Of 654 eagle admissions reviewed, 138 cases of lead-poisoned eagles were evaluated for the following: recovery location, blood lead concentration, month of admission, radiographic evidence of lead in the ventriculus and primary cause of admission. The prevalence of lead poisoning in eagles did not change after 1991, but mean blood concentrations of lead in the same population decreased. These findings call into question current theories regarding the sources of lead for eagles and the actual mechanisms by which eagles are poisoned. Lead poisoning is a continuing problem both regionally and internationally, and many variables related to this toxicity have yet to be conclusively defined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-332
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Raptor Research
Volume31
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997

Keywords

  • Aquila chrysaetos
  • Bald Eagle
  • Federal legislation
  • Golden Eagle
  • Haliaeetus leucocephalus
  • Lead toxicity
  • Upper Midwest

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