Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Bald Eagle Patient with an Environmental Message for Us

On Sunday, a bald eagle patient from the Mankato, MN area was brought into The Raptor Center’s clinic.  The bird had been spotted tangled by its left wing from some fishing line, floating in the Minnesota River.

While the eagle’s wing is recovering from the entanglement, its blood work and physical exam showed that it was recently exposed to (ingested) lead.  Because lead toxicity is commonly seen in bald eagles, every eagle admitted to TRC’s clinic has its blood tested for the presence of lead. While lead toxicity is often fatal to eagles, this bird’s other problems (fishing line entanglement) resulted in it getting treatment at an early stage of the disease. 

The bird, like all of our clinic patients, had an important environmental message to tell us.  On average, 25-30% of the bald eagles admitted suffer from lead toxicity. The primary cause of lead toxicity in bald eagles is ingestion of bullet fragments (hunting ammunition) in a meal such as a deer carcass or gut pile.  Lead poisoning has long been recognized to be a serious problem in bald eagles admitted to The Raptor Center. 

Dr. Julia Ponder, TRC's executive director, is featured in this Undark article, discussing the impacts of spent ammunition on wildlife. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

How You Can Help Great Horned Owls and Other Raptors

 As each New Year begins, great horned owls in particular become more active as they claim their territories, engage in courtship, and begin the nesting season.  Many of these birds are our close neighbors, living in residential areas.  They easily get entangled and trapped in holiday lights still decorating outdoor trees and shrubs, as did the patient featured here.  In an attempt to free themselves, these owls often sustain injuries and/or break the tools they need to fly:  their feathers.  One action we can all take to help prevent these situations and to continue to spread holiday cheer is to remove festive light decorations right after the holiday season is over. This one act can potentially save an owl’s life.
You can see the bruising on the underside of
the owl's wing.

Please spread the word with your family and friends. A little preventative action on your part can help our owl neighbors stay healthy especially during their reproductive season.
Here is a page of how to help an injured raptor.

As always, we could not do this work without your support.  Thank you for caring about raptors.