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The North Bend Eagle


Eagle found locally dies from lead poisoning

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 6/6/06


Click here to read the Eagle story about the eagle being rescued near the Platte River.

The bald eagle found Dec. 17 by Kelvin Kreitman while hunting along the Platte River near North Bend has died of lead poisoning. The mature female eagles’s story was featured on the front page of the Dec. 22 North Bend Eagle.

Kreitman was hunting with two others when the eagle was found under a tree, unable to fly. The hunters contacted the local game warden who took the bird to the Raptor Recovery Center in Elmwood where the lead poisoning was diagnosed.

Game Warden Dan Roberts said he heard that the eagle had died through a story in the Omaha paper. When the Recovery Center was contacted by the North Bend Eagle, one of the directors, Betsy Finch, said several birds were brought to them with the lead poisoning and she was unable to recall any specifics about this particular bird.

“We’ve had several birds in with lead poisoning,” Finch said. “This is the season, from now until April.”

Finch said that the birds do not get the lead from being shot, rather from ingesting fish, other birds and deer carcass that have ingested the lead. During drought years when water is low in lakes, ducks eat off the bottom and ingest lead sinkers that have accumulated at the bottom of the lake after being lost by fishermen. The ducks die from lead poisoning, then the eagles eat them or fish who have lead sinkers in them. Only steel shot is suppose to be used for waterfowl because it is not toxic.

Finch has worked with the Raptor Recovery for 35 years, treating over 10,000 birds of a variety of species. She and her husband, Doug, run the center, aided by over 50 volunteers all over Nebraska who help with the recovery and transportation of ill or injured birds.

This is one bald eagle who will not be returning to its mate along the Platte River.

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