I was saddened to see the op-ed about lead poisoning and bald eagles by Ed Britton.
Anyone who knows or listens to my radio show knows I’m an avid hunter and a conservationist.
Over the years I’ve kept up on this traditional ammunition nonissue by having numerous biologists and experts as guests on my show and they all say the same thing, eagle populations are soaring.
I also keep informed on this issue by reading the latest studies, which is why I wish the op-ed would have mentioned an enlightening new piece of research from our own Iowa State University.
Rather than testing lead levels in already deceased eagles, this study tested the bald eagle population at-large. To do this, the authors sampled eagle feces. Over 400 samples from free-flying wild eagles in various areas of Iowa were tested.
As I suspected would be the case, the overwhelming majority of samples had very low levels of lead, about the same as background environmental lead levels and similar to levels found in eagles in lead-free sites.
In addition to the very low lead levels none of the researchers observed any behavior that would have suggested lead poisoning in an eagle.
Given this new study, which looks at the eagle population as a whole, rather than just sick birds at rehabilitation centers it is clear that traditional ammunition is simply not the boogey man so many people make it out to be. One more revealing find from the study was that more than 80 percent of the nests visited produced at least one offspring, a success rate which the researchers described as “every high.”
Our bald eagles are doing just fine.
To find out how hunters are helping eagles and the Iowa economy please visit www.Huntingworksforia.com.
Dan Young is the host of Outdoors Traditions Radio and The Outdoors Dan Show.