Richmond, VA—A female bald eagle taken from a farm east of Richmond has reunited with her mate, after spending time at the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center.
The eagle was taken from the farm off of Route 5 on the day after Christmas in 2012. She was driven 140 miles to the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center in Boyce, Virginia, because she needed specialized medical care.
After examining her, veterinarians determined that this eagle was suffering from lead poisoning and had a fractured left wing. Her wing was splinted and she was treated with chelating agents to remove the lead from her blood, nervous system, and bone, while her fractured wing healed.
The eagle spent six weeks exercising in the Flight Cage at the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center, and eventually regained the strength to fly and survive in the wild.
On Saturday, May 4, the eagle was returned to the farm, and after about 20 minutes of circling, handlers spotted her at the top of some trees with another eagle, presumably her mate.
The Blue Ridge Wildlife Center says that they have been seeing more cases of lead poisoning in eagles from the Richmond area. Read the following information on why lead poisoning is especially dangerous for these animals:
"Even low levels of lead in the blood can cause neurological damage and incoordination which can predispose these animals to injury which is what may have happened in this eagle.
Eagles develop lead poisoning after consuming lead fishing weights and lures left inside fish (the ones that got away), or from feeding on deer carcasses which have fragments of lead bullets in them. Except for rare circumstances, they do not develop lead poisoning from being shot.
For the past few years, the BRWC has been testing all the sick and injured hawks and eagles that come into the Center, and this testing has shown that this type of lead poisoning is more common than previously thought.
We want to remind everyone who hunts and fishes never to use equipment containing lead. Lead sinkers and lures, and lead ammunition are toxic to animals (such as eagles) that accidentally consume the remnants of this lead in their prey."
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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