Saturday, February 4, 2023

Eagles and Lead

Eaton Rapids was in the news because some local luminary claimed that nearly all of the eagles he had examined had been poisoned by lead.

A quick search on his name reveals that he is in his VERY early 20s and is not a veterinary doctor nor is he credited with a Ph.D.

Furthermore, he works at a wildlife rehabilitation facility where sick animals are brought for "therapy" with the intention of reintroducing them to the wild. One might suppose that the animals brought to the facility are not representative of the larger population.

Zooming back a little bit, it appears that many environmentalists want to enact California's restrictions on lead-based ammunition to all 57 states. They point to studies involving hundreds of raptors showing high levels of lead. The facts that they choose to present make a compelling case for the elimination of lead.

But what are they not telling us?

The study implies that many of the raptors that were assayed as having high lead levels were collected in California where lead ammo has been prohibited since 2013. If the raptors from California had significantly lower lead levels then the article would have trumpeted that information from the treetops.

And yet they still want to prohibit lead-based ammo...even though its on-the-ground effectiveness is still more theoretical than proven.

When non-toxic shot for waterfowl was first proposed, the "science" claimed that ducks and geese had functional gizzards. That organ processes food by grinding grains and hard foods with grit. The scientists of the day claimed that waterfowl picked up lead "shot" when collecting grit and the shot would be ground to very fine powder in the gizzard.

Lead is a relatively inert metal. It has been used to line coffins, for instance. It was only by increasing the surface area by two orders of magnitude, via grinding, that enough toxic Pb ions could be leached from the material consumed by the waterfowl to pose a health risk.

Raptors do not eat grain. They do not have functional gizzards. The shot (and bullet fragments) are not reduced in size through the digestive system. So where does the lead come from?

Furthermore, if lead in animal corpses is such a risk, why does it not seem to impact crows and buzzards? Or, for that matter, possums and coyotes. We don't seem to have a crisis in the population of any of those critters.

Just to add to the confusion, maybe mammals trap toxic metals in their livers and maybe large raptors preferentially eat the livers of carrion. Looking back at Greek mythology, Prometheus's punishment for giving humanity fire was to be bound to a rock and to have his liver eaten by an eagle.

Those Greeks were not stupid. They did not pull "...eagle eating his liver..." out of their nethermost.


  1. Left wing pseudo science being used to drive an agenda????
    Say it ain't so !!!

  2. A doctor I know observed 99% of their patients were sick.

  3. Way back there was a bounty on eagles in much of Alaska because they ate salmon! Lead poisoning in the first order! When working in a salmon hatchery back in the 90’s thru 2010 I often watched eagles snag fish in the stream mouth and eat them on the sand bar at low tide. Occasionally they would grab one with their talons that was too big and once caught they couldn’t let go! They would swim to the sand bar with their wings and they could release the pressure and be shut of that fish and then dejectedly try and dry their feathers while their cohorts devoured their hard won prey!!

  4. The non-toxic shot requirement "saved" the sport of waterfowling from being ended by federal mandate. Concerned sportsmen, in cooperation with the Michigan DNR collected many gizzards and sampled for both steel and lead shot. I know because I was there.

    Aaaaand, it was all a sham. We found more lead that had been shot inot the gizzards than had been ingested. The concession agreement ruined the sport, raising the cost of participation. Just one more example of why secession from the federal leviathon is the only solution.

  5. I am producing 88 US dollars per-hr to complete few services on the laptop. I certainly not believed that it'd achievable a3 however one of my best pal collecting $25,000 in five weeks by doing this job & she convinced me to join...
    Explore extra updates by reaching this article >>>


Readers who are willing to comment make this a better blog. Civil dialog is a valuable thing.