Needless to say, many of our lake area neighbors expressed disappointment after learning the life of one of our resident American Bald Eagles was suddenly shorted due to an unknown cause of death. This disappointment was followed by further dismay when yet another Bald Eagle was discovered deceased in another area of the Lake.
We all shared high hope in turning both eagles over to the US Fish & Wildlife Services that their forensic investigations would reveal the true cause of death resulting in positive corrective actions be made to help ensure no further similar occurrence would be repeated.
Unfortunately, it is with further disappointment that I share the following letter received from Special Agent Amanda Cook regarding the studies inconclusive results:
July 23, 2013
I received the forensic lab final exam report last week and have been finishing my report. The results were inconclusive. The cause of death could not be definitively determined from the analyses conducted. Thin body condition was noted in both birds was suggestive of chronic problems such as lack of food access or environmental contaminants.
Crop and stomach contents were negative for toxic substances including organophosphates, carbamates, pentobarbital and strychnine. Also, the birds showed no clinical signs of toxicity caused by anticoagulant rodenticides. The lab also tested for lead, with negative results.
The lab cannot test for every toxic substance, but they did test for the most commonly used ones. The key that we may have been missing in this case was the rodent carcass that was discarded.
The lab worked very hard and conducted numerous test. Sorry the results were not more conclusive.
U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Office of Law Enforcement
14852 NE 95th Street
Redmond, WA 98052