Skip to main content
Publish date:

Second bald eagle dies of lead poisoning at Raptor Center

The center has treated several other eagles for lead poisoning recently.

The University of Minnesota Raptor Center has lost a second bald eagle to lead poisoning.

Reports say the bird-rescue facility euthanized the eagle on Thursday.

"The blood lead level came out higher than our screening tests can record, which is a definite sign of lead toxicity," staff told MPR, which noted the bird was suffering from mild tremors and depression, and was ultimately "too sick to leave." 

The outlet says the eagle, which was brought in from a rescue center in Duluth, is the second to die of lead poisoning at the Raptor Center this hunting season.

According to the Associated Press, the center has treated another five eagles "in which lead was a secondary problem" this season. 

WCCO says the eagle is believed to have gotten sick from eating "the field remains of a deer that had been shot with a lead bullet" – a fairly common occurrence as many hunters still use lead shot.

The station notes that lead ammunition is a controversial topic in hunting, with tests showing that the "fine dust of lead fragments" can taint carcass meat, posing a threat to scavenging animals and even humans. 

Despite the loss of the eagle, the mission of the Raptor Center continues, and staff ended the week with some good news concerning a wounded owl:

About lead poisoning

Lead is a naturally occurring but highly toxic metal, with the World Health Organization saying there is "no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe."

It can be found in old paint and water pipes among many other sources, and can have adverse effects on the brain and nervous system, especially in young children. 

Next Up

Car break-in, smashed window, car theft

Orono police alert residents after series of 'smash and grab' robberies

The thieves are targeting cars and stealing valuables left inside.

Adam Thielen

Vikings vs. Packers: 5 things you can count on

Can the Vikings win a pivotal divisional battle?


Man killed in shooting outside apartment building in St. Paul

Shots fired were reported to police around 11:30 p.m.

Anthony Edwards

Ant sets the tone, Timberwolves dominate Grizzlies

The Wolves have won four of their past six games.

Kirill Kaprizov

Wild's comeback bid comes up short against Panthers

The Wild came close to another come-from-behind victory.

Chris Autman-Bell

Gophers keep division title hopes alive, throttle Indiana

Chris Autman-Bell caught two touchdowns in a 35-14 victory over the Hoosiers.

u.s. attorney

New Hope man found guilty in fatal hit-and-run

Said Maye was found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder in Hennepin County District Court.

Screen Shot 2021-11-20 at 8.00.04 AM

4 children missing from home in Twin Cities are found safe

Police are seeking help finding the four siblings.

Robert Dale Veldkamp and Derek Jon Haehnel, state trooper

2 state troopers die of cancer within two days of each other

Rob Veldkamp and Derek Haehnel were 49 and 36, respectively.

Jamal Smith

Accused Hwy 169 shooter loses phone privileges over alleged witness tampering

Jamal Smith is charged with fatally shooting a youth coach this past July.

pixabay - covid vaccine record card

COVID-19 booster shots now available to all Minnesota adults

Gov. Tim Walz's announcement qualifies around 1.7 million people in Minnesota for a booster shot.


Rescued eagle had lead poisoning, leads to concern over hunting ammunition

An injured eagle has reignited the debate over the use of lead ammunition while hunting.

Eagle being released into wild

Watch: Family of rescued bald eagles released into wild

They were found in rough shape in Aitkin County last month.

Minn. DNR begins bullet exchange in effort to curb bald eagle poisoning

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is attempting to save bald eagles with a new bullet exchange program. The DNR has enlisted the help of outdoor retailer Cabelas to persuade deer hunters to use copper ammunition instead of lead -- because the lead fragments eagles can ingest eating the remains of deer will poison them.

Bald eagles enjoy a day at the beach

For the past decade, volunteers at the National Eagle Center have been treating the birds to "Beach Day." The trip to the Mississippi River has become a weekly summertime tradition in Wabasha.