BY MELANIE BUCK –
Zinc poisoning is the cause of injuries to the latest Bald Eagle that was brought to Wildlife Rehabilitator Tommy Young this week. The 2 ½ month old baby eagle was found swimming in Lake Ouachita with many damaged feathers and brought to Young in hopes of saving the endangered national bird.
Young explained that zinc, which is found in many bodies of water due to using the substance in water treatments plants and more, entered the bird’s system via fish. He said the mother of the eagle was probably getting ‘sucker fish’ from the lake and feeding it to her young. The fish eat off the bottom of the lake, where zinc collects, and passes it on when the bird digests their meal. Young will have to re-feather the eagle, which takes much time, and many feathers, but is quite possible.
He explained that the young bald eagle probably just left the nest. “Everything in her body was saying, ‘you’re ready, it’s time to fly,’ but when she did, she just fell to the lake because her feathers are so damaged.”
This is Young’s busiest time of year when dozens of animals are brought daily for rehab services. To help, some of his supporters are hosting a live remote to raise funding for the Arkansas Native Plant and Wildlife Center on July 9th on KENA 104.1FM from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. Donations will be accepted by stopping by Pulse Multi-Media Studios that day at 1168 Hwy. 71 South in Mena or by calling in to 479-394-2800. For more information on the live remote, contact Lynn Greenwade at 479-234-5440.