UPDATE: Back in October of 2010 when this blog was still hosted by Blogger, I posted that an injured Bald Eagle had been spotted by the Verde Canyon Train Crew and rescued. The Eagle was taken to a Wildlife Rehab Center in hopes of saving it and returning it to the wild. The train crew had noticed it’s mate keeping watch when they came to collect the injured bird. They hoped to be able to return it to the wild to reunite with its mate. Sadly the story did not end well. The rescued eagle was suffering from lead poisoning and did not recover. It is believed that the surviving eagle eventually found a new mate.
Eagles and condors both are subject to the risk of lead poisoning. Both birds tend to scavenge for food and sometimes the dead animals are ones that have been shot by lead bullets. As the birds eat the meat they ingest bits of lead from the bullets. If they eat enough of this tainted meat they develop lead poisoning and die.
There are bullets available that are not made of lead. Not being a hunter myself I can’t tell you what they are but I do know that there is a movement to encourage if not force the use of non lead bullets when hunting near National Forests or other protected habitat.