Valley bald eagle recovering from deadly lead level - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Valley bald eagle recovering from deadly lead level

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A bald eagle is recovering in the Valley after testing positive for a deadly level of lead, according to caregivers.

The young bird, likely only a few months old, was discovered in Ashtabula County and tested positive for a deadly level of lead poisoning. She is now in the care of Birds in Flight Sanctuary, a non-profit organization in Howland.

Caregivers believe the eagle obtained the high levels by eating.

"Most eagles will eat a lot of carrion, so that's animals that are already dead. So if somebody would shoot say a groundhog and leave it in the field and it has lead in it, then the mother would go and get it and feed it to the kids and then they would get it that way," said Director of Birds in Flight Heather Merritt.

Well-known animal conservationist Jeff Corwin happened to be in the Valley speaking with students from YSU. He said bald eagles can only get lead poisoning two ways - they're either shot or they consume it.

"That's why for example the state of California, they passed regulations so you can't use lead shot or lead-based ammunition when you're hunting animals," said Corwin.

To put the danger of lead into perspective, Corwin used a California Condor as an example.

"It takes a fraction of lead basically, a fingernail fleck of lead to kill a California Condor," said Corwin. 

Both Corwin and Merritt commented on the successful conservation efforts have had on the bald eagle population.

"Numbers are getting so high they're actually starting to fight over territory, so we know now their numbers are getting pretty high," said Merritt.

"There are children today that see wild bald eagles where just a generation of people before that never saw bald eagles," said Corwin.

As for the young eagle in the care of Birds in Flight, caregivers say the bird is stable and seems to be responding to medication.

To help Birds in Flight, visit their website.

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