One of the greatest pleasures of living on Budd Lake is observing the diverse bird activity starting with the bald eagles. Shown are a pair of eagles we saw this winter about 200 feet from our window. After clean drinking water, what’s more important to a lake and its enjoyment; fish, birds, other wildlife or vegetation?
This beautiful weekend we took a day-excursion to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha and signed up for the 1-hour introduction to eagles. Very informative!! After Alaska, MN has the most bald eagles in the lower 48. Their numbers have rebounded since the elimination of DDT that weakened their eggs.
That’s the good news. However human activity continues to kill eagles and other raptors in alarming numbers. How? A painful death by lead poisoning. I learned that raptors have super-strong stomach acid that not only dissolves bones, but also dissolves metals, including lead. It only takes a piece of lead the size of a grain of rice to kill them.
What’s their source of lead? Fishing tackle and ammo. When our instructor at the center learned this he recycled his fishing tackle and purchase non-lead alternatives. Furthermore he convinced his hunter relatives to use lead ammo only for target practice at the gun range. For actual hunting they now use copper or steel.
I hope it will become a FLF mission to promote non-lead fishing tackle. Perhaps someday we could ban lead from our fishing tournaments.
MN DNR says “One-in-five loons die a slow and painful death of lead poisoning from fishing tackle”
Read more: Lead-free fishing tackle: Get the lead out
Outdoor News Feb 2022: Nearly half of U.S. bald eagles suffer lead poisoning