Source: The Kentucky Standard
January 16, 2021
An injured bald eagle rescued by a volunteer last month has died, according to an update from the organization that was caring for the bird.
Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky Inc. announced Wednesday the female eagle, labeled Bald Eagle 20-302, succumbed to her injuries.
“This young bird was a fighter to the end, but unfortunately, her internal trauma was too much to overcome,” an official with RROKI stated in a Facebook post.
The bird was discovered on Dec. 30 in a creek bed at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. Eric Nally, who was participating in the forest’s annual Christmas bird count, spotted the eagle and alerted Bernheim officials. Soon, the bird was turned over to Raptor Rehabilitation, a Louisville-based group that cares for injured birds of prey.
RROKI officials discovered the eagle, estimated to be about 4 years old, had suffered severe internal trauma and lead poisoning. The poisoning is common among bald eagles as the birds are known to scavenge on gut piles left by hunters and eat fish that contain lead due to sinkers left in waterways. Lead poisoning can cause neurological damage and likely resulted in the bird’s internal injuries.
“Normally the type of internal trauma that she sustained is caused by the impact of a vehicle. Because of the location where she was found, we can only guess that the injury most likely came when she fell from a tree onto rocks as the lead poisoning began to affect her neurologically,” a RROKI spokesperson said. “She simply didn’t have the strength to flap her wings and arrest her fall. Hopefully, her story will not be in vain and will help bring awareness to the dangers of lead poisoning.”
The eagle’s injuries and subsequent death showcase a need for responsible hunting and fishing practices to protect other wildlife.
“Please make every attempt to minimize the use of lead shot and bury the trauma areas when field dressing. When fishing, find lead free alternatives for traditional sinkers and tackle,” the organization posted.