On December 8, 2009, the Raptor Center received a call from local Hastings business man, Harry Meier, Eckhart Vacuum, 1631 Oak St. Harry reported that he had seen a downed eagle south west of town and that it did not seem right.
The bird was within 50 yards of it’s nest and its mate was nearby.
When we drove into the field, the bird made no attempt to flee and Terry Headley, (eagle handler from the Raptor Center), made the comment that it was probably a case of lead poisoning as she has witnessed this behavior before. The bird also chirped with a high pitch squeak in an unusual manner.
Terry was able to walk up to the adult eagle and lift it off the ground and cage it for the trip back to St. Paul. At the clinic, X-rays showed no sign of trauma or broken bones, and blood tests confirmed lead poison.
Some information about the danger of lead is posted on the Raptor website.
Star Tribune article about this issue was published in November 2008.
The message needs to be that this is not about anti hunting, but anti lead. There are alternatives to lead bullets available at sporting goods stores.