Threats to eagle population in the Northland

By KBJR News 1

January 2, 2014 Updated Jan 2, 2014 at 6:23 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- According to officials in Utah, 27 eagles in the state have died from West Nile Virus since December 1st...
However, experts in Duluth say there are greater local threats to our Northland eagle population.

David Phillips, a Northlander on the board of directors for Wildwoods Rehabilitation, an organization that works to return injured animals to their natural lives, says it's very unlikely that eagles in this region could contract the virus.

He says a bigger threat to eagles in the Northland is lead ingested by eagles from feeding on deer that have been shot by hunters with lead bullets.

"It's time though that we as hunters make a change, and that change is away from lead core rounds. There's all kind of different replacements out on the market, yes they're expensive, but you know what most of us are only using a handful of rounds a season," said Phillips.

When eagles ingest lead into their system they become lethargic, are not able to fend for themselves, cannot fly, and in some cases become blind.

Elsa Robins