SFGate

Published 7:43 pm, Sunday, December 29, 2013

This bald eagle is one of four that were brought to a Utah rehabilitation center with body tremors and paralysis before they eventually died. Twenty bald eagles have died in the state in the past few weeks, and a new ailing eagle surfaces almost daily. Scientists say the birds were not shot by hunters or poisoned. Photo: Associated Press
This bald eagle is one of four that were brought to a Utah rehabilitation center with body tremors and paralysis before they eventually died. Twenty bald eagles have died in the state in the past few weeks, and a new ailing eagle surfaces almost daily. Scientists say the birds were not shot by hunters or poisoned. Photo: Associated Press

Salt Lake City

Bald eagles are dying in Utah – 20 in the past few weeks alone – and nobody can figure out why.

Hundreds of the majestic birds – many with wing spans of 7 feet or more – migrate here each winter, gathering along the Great Salt Lake and feasting on carp and other fish that swim in the nearby freshwater bays.

Earlier this month, however, hunters and farmers across five counties in northern and central Utah began finding the normally skittish raptors lying listless on the ground. Many suffered from seizures, head tremors and paralysis in the legs, feet and wings.

Many of the eagles were brought to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah, where Buz Marthaler and other handlers tried to save the birds. Within 48 hours most were dead.

“It’s just hard to have your national bird in your arms, going through seizures in a way it can’t control – when you can see its pain but don’t know what’s happening to it,” said Marthaler, 56, co-founder of the facility in Ogden.

State wildlife specialists are also baffled. For weeks, officials have sent birds for necropsies at the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis., hoping the results would offer clues.

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 Science X network

Phys.Org

Bald eagle deaths in Utah alarm and mystify scientists

Dec 29, 2013 by John M. Glionna

Bald eagles are dying in Utah – 20 in the past few weeks alone – and nobody can figure out why.

Hundreds of the majestic birds – many with wing spans of 7 feet or more – migrate here each winter, gathering along the Great Salt Lake and feasting on carp and other fish that swim in the nearby freshwater bays.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-12-bald-eagle-deaths-utah-alarm.html#jCp

Earlier this month, however, hunters and farmers across five counties in northern and central Utah began finding the normally skittish raptors lying listless on the ground. Many suffered from seizures, head tremors and paralysis in the legs, feet and wings.

Many of the eagles were brought to the mammoth Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah, where Buz Marthaler – a longtime animal caretaker – and other handlers tried to save the birds. Within 48 hours most were dead.

Earlier this month, however, hunters and farmers across five counties in northern and central Utah began finding the normally skittish raptors lying listless on the ground. Many suffered from seizures, head tremors and paralysis in the legs, feet and wings.

Many of the eagles were brought to the mammoth Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah, where Buz Marthaler – a longtime animal caretaker – and other handlers tried to save the birds. Within 48 hours most were dead.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-12-bald-eagle-deaths-utah-alarm.html#jCp

“It’s just hard to have your national bird in your arms, going through seizures in a way it can’t control – when you can see it’s pain but don’t know what’s happening to it,” said Marthaler, 56, co-founder of the facility in Ogden.

“As a human being, you just have problems with that. And when you lose one, it just grabs your heart.”

State wildlife specialists are also baffled. For weeks, officials have sent birds for necropsies at the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis., hoping the results would offer clues.

They began to rule out obvious possibilities: The birds were not shot by hunters, and officials don’t believe the birds were poisoned. “There doesn’t seem to be anything suspicious in that regard,” said Mitch Lane, a conservation officer with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, who has responded to numerous reports of downed or sick eagles.

Read More Here

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