Natural Resources Police officers, with the assistance of Jo Santiago and Dylan Lewis with the U. S. Forest Service International Programs, were able to successfully release the bald eagle that was found in Pocahontas County in January suffering from lead toxicity – poisoning.
The adult eagle was treated and banded at the Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia in Morgantown and was returned to the Upper Shavers Fork area of Randolph County and released Monday, February 8.
Lead toxicity, or poisoning, occurs when eagles ingest lead most likely while scavenging carcasses of other wildlife. When ingested, lead has detrimental effects on the nervous and reproductive systems of eagles. Eagles with lead poisoning may exhibit the loss of balance, gasping, tremors and impaired ability to fly. Emaciation follows and death can occur within two to three weeks after lead ingestion.
This particular eagle was located with the assistance of observant landowners who found the eagle. Sgt. J. T. Craig and Officer R. E. Hebb were able to capture the bird and take it for treatment. J. Craig photo