Bald Eagle Death A “Canary In The Coal Mine”

Julie Loparo is an animal rights advocate. She often shares uplifting stories of work by Westport Animal Shelter Advocates and Wildlife in Crisis. 

Not today, unfortunately. She sends along this Wildlife in Crisis report:

A few weeks ago, on a lawn adjacent to the Saugatuck River, a very ill and lethargic adult female bald eagle was found by Westport Animal Control officer Peter Reid.

He immediately transported it to Wildlife in Crisis. Despite a great effort to save the magnificent bird, it died.

Wanting to know the source of the illness, Wildlife in Crisis sought a necropsy.  It revealed that the eagle died from rodenticide. Its liver contained compounds used in mouse and rat poison.

It is upsetting to think that if nature had been left alone to deal with mice or rats, this eagle would still soar.

Peter Reid, with bald eagle.

Dara Reid, Wildlife in Crisis director, called this “a perfect specimen, unnecessarily poisoned through ignorance and apathy.

“But this is just the tip of the iceberg.  The deluge of pesticides being sprayed throughout Westport should concern every resident, especially those with children.

“All summer at Wildlife in Crisis, we received calls about songbirds dead en masse under recently sprayed trees. This is the proverbial canary in the coal mine scenario.  Poisons are never the answer; they only create more problems. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.”

(“06880” keeps a close eye on our town’s environmental issues. That’s part of our local journalism mission. Your donation helps greatly. Please click here. Thank you!)

12 responses to “Bald Eagle Death A “Canary In The Coal Mine”

  1. It’s a sad story, but an important one, to share. I hope the state of the environment is not too late to repair.

  2. Jennifer Jane Stephenson

    My one cat has single-handedly reduced the rodent population where I live to zero in 3 years. No chemicals needed. Nature in balance.

  3. Sad and avoidable.

    Dear Town of Westport Elected Officials and Residents:

    Please do not bulldoze the Westport Community Gardens and Long lots Preserve for a new ballfield. These two environmental gems provide critical habitat for migrating and residential birds, and thousands of pollinators including native bees, honey bees, butterflies, moths, fireflies and a host of other organisms critical to the health of our environment. These two properties are brimming with life. The biodiversity created there is amazing.

    Find equitable resources for athletics elsewhere in town. Stop trashing the environment. Please.

  4. This is so tragic. Here on Cape Cod it has happened several times- in the last few years.

    Pest Control Companies only put out Poisonous traps. Or individuals by large doses of Decon which Posion raptors kill.
    In lieu oif finding the rodents entry ways and blocking them off with steel wool. Or doing the necessary construction to prevent their entrance routes.

    I pray for the safety of raptors daily.

  5. I cannot tell you how often we discuss this on my radio show, imploring legislators to ban its use. This year there was a bill but it did not pass . Christine of Christine’s Critters explained how pervasive and harmful these poisons are . I understand – nobody wants mice in their homes . But exterminators too often offer this poison box as a way to control them. So you don’t have dead mice in your house – instead they scamper off, a bald eagle thinks they’re healthy , and then they both die . It’s appalling , cruel , unnecessary and shouid be banned .

    • it’s not just rodent killer. it’s using toxic Chemicals all over our homes. fertilizer. weed control. tree spraying. spraying for ants. bees. I’m guilty too. I have learned to use white vinegar to kill weeds. white vinegar in a sprayer works great on weeds in cracks and on smaller weeds. Between global warming and toxic chemicals all over 06880 we face some serious problems. Just look at the weekend rain and New York. insane. infrastructure cannot deal with it

  6. Good morning, that could have been prevented. There is a product. The company is right here..
    The public needs to know this exists. We can not let innocent animals die in vain…

  7. I watched Saugatuck Shores neighbors spread poisons for years so I took action, distributing the information below. Westport is way behind when we do not fight CT DOT regular use of glyphosate in our town.

    Please don’t spray Roundup in our neighborhood. Spraying exposes everyone, involuntarily, to a highly toxic chemical which is especially dangerous for children who routinely put unwashed hands in their mouths and take in more toxins pound for pound than adults. The nervous, respiratory, reproductive and immune systems of children aren’t fully developed. Children also have a longer time horizon for adverse health effects like those described below. Please don’t use Roundup and ask your landscaper to use non-toxic alternatives such as vinegar, corn gluten, other natural products or manual “weeding”. Winter is coming and that too will take care of any weed problem. Let us also protect the Saugatuck River and Long Island Sound by stopping needless risk of poisoning ourselves.

    Glyphosate (Roundup, Rodeo): N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine. Exposure routes: Glyphosate is toxic if inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin. Acute toxicity: Glyphosate is acutely toxic via ingestion. Chronic toxicity: Miscarriages, premature births, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Environmental toxicity: It is a broad spectrum, non-selective herbicide that affects non-target and native plants. It is toxic to birds, fish and aquatic invertebrates. Persistence: Glyphosate is persistent in soil, with field half-life of up to 174 days. Its half-life in pond water ranges from 12 days to 10 weeks. It is metabolized by some plants, while remaining intact in others. Breakdown products: Transformation products include formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, and N-nitrosoglyphosate. Contaminants and inerts3: Of serious concern is the inert ingredient in the Glyphosphate formulation called polyoxyethyleneamine (POEA), a surfactant. This and possible other “inerts” are toxic and appear to be the cause of death and illness in reported cases of accidental poisoning. They can cause a wide range of respiratory, cardiovascular, reproductive and central nervous system problems. A 1999 study by the American Cancer Society found elevated incidence of the cancer non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
    Roundup’s serious effects on human reproduction have been proven. In a study in Ontario, Canada, exposure of male farmers to glyphosate-based herbicides was associated with an increase in miscarriage and premature birth in farm families. Seeking an explanation for these pregnancy-related problems, researchers at France’s Université de Caen investigated the effects of the full Roundup formulation and glyphosate alone on cultured human placental cells. The herbicide, they found, killed the cells at concentrations far below those used in agricultural practice. Surprisingly, they also found that Roundup was at least twice as toxic as glyphosate alone.
    Roundup also disrupts hormones which modulate estrogen synthesis. Estrogens are known as female hormones, but today we know that they are important for bone growth and testicular function at very low doses. A modulation of estrogen synthesis causes sperm decline, increase in cancers and sexual malformations.
    Bone is a living tissue that is constantly broken down and reassembled, especially during growth and healing of broken bones. Its major constituent is calcium phosphate. Glyphosate acts as a fake phosphate in bone tissue and interferes in normal bone formation. Build-up of glyphosate causes weaker bones, contributes to bone deformities, slows healing of broken bones and causes more brittle bones in old age.
    Blood bodies are produced in bone marrow. Glyphosate leads to lower output of red blood bodies and contributes to anemia. Glyphosate moves continuously through bone marrow on its way to being fixed in bone tissue, impairing the immune system and contributing to leukemia.
    Lining the stomach wall with glyphosate hampers stomach acid production which interferes with digestive processes.
    One function of the liver is detoxification. Given glyphosate sinks in the body, the liver’s detoxification process is less effective. Glyphosate kills liver cells, impairs liver function and contributes to liver cancer and disease.
    Digestive enzymes are secreted by the pancreas. When membranes become plastered with glyphosate, the amount of enzyme secreted is reduced, resulting in digestive problems. The pancreas also produces insulin and a glyphosate build-up contributes to diabetes.
    The colon is where water is reabsorbed from the gut, preventing water loss from the body. Toxins are moved back into the body if they remain too long inside the colon. Since Glyphosate is not detoxified by the liver it continues to circulate.
    Kidneys are structured as a bundle of very fine tubes which filters the blood for waste and extra water which are excreted as urine. A glyphosate coating of these tubes impairs the function of kidneys which creates yet another serious health risk. Please let us use safe alternatives like corn gluten or manual weeding rather than poisoning ourselves.

  8. What a gorgeous eagle! And, just think about how many rodents she would have eaten – thus keeping those out of anyone’s house. In addition, she would have produced an average 40 more eagles in her life time to carry on that work!

  9. Very Sad. I enjoy watching the bald eagle(s) in Westport on the River.

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