Eagle Deaths Investigated on Virginia's Eastern Shore

Metal fragments were found in an immature eagle's digestive tract

Wednesday, Mar 13, 2013  |  Updated 1:28 PM EDT
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State wildlife officials are investigating the deaths of four bald eagles on the Eastern Shore.

Ruth Boettcher with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries WAVY-TV that three dead eagles and two live eagles were found in Northhampton County. One of the live eagles later died. The other one was taken on Saturday to the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro.

The wildlife center says its veterinary intern found metal fragments in an immature eagle's digestive tract and elevated levels of lead in its blood. The fragments appear to have since moved through the eagle's system. Another lead test was planned Wednesday.

The cause of the eagles' deaths hasn't been determined. Boettcher says the eagles might have fed on animal carcasses containing bullets.

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