October 3, 2018 at 5:11 am
A bald eagle flies at Woods Canyon Lake on the Mogollon Rim. (This is probably not the eagle that was released after suffering from lead poisoning.) | Gerry Groeber
A bald eagle found suffering from lead poisoning in Northern Arizona has been released back into the wild after six months of recovery.
As the Arizona Daily Sun reported last month, the bald eagle was discovered in a backyard west of Flagstaff in February. The bird was disoriented and weak, and biologists later determined the cause to be lead poisoning — possibly from sinkers left in a lake or ammunition left by hunters.
The bald eagle was taken to Liberty Wildlife, a Phoenix refuge, and treated with two rounds of chelation therapy, which absorbs lead. It then had to wait for its annual feather molt to replace feathers that had been damaged, the Daily Sun reported.
Liberty Wildlife staff said the bald eagle was the 103rd that the organization has rehabilitated and released.
Lead poisoning has been identified as a key factor in population declines of many bird species — most notably California condors, but bald eagles as well.