Lead is a dangerous metal that can poison humans and wildlife; A fragment the size of a grain of rice is enough to kill an eagle.

Wildlife Rehabilitation facilities across the world see many cases of lead poisoning each year in many different species. The leading causes are due to the ingestion of fragments left from lead ammunition and fishing tackle. Fragments can be left behind in entrails and carcasses left in the field by people, in which raptors and other wildlife scavenge. Waterfowl, such as swans, geese, and ducks, dabble up lead fishing weights lost by fishermen or historic lead, which they mistake as pebbles and loons, osprey, and other fish-eating predators can ingest it from fish they consume. In turn, this poisons them and any predators who may eat them.

Using lead to hunt waterfowl has been banned since the mid 90’s, yet the same dangerous material is still widely used for upland game birds, target shooting/vermin, and large game.

Many major ammunition and fishing tackle companies do offer non-lead
ammunition and fishing tackle. The alternatives have been widely tested and are proven to make a similar impact.


Lead is a neurotoxin which affects all species, humans included. Symptoms of lead poisoning exhibit in various ways, such as loss of coordination, inability to stand, blindness, respiratory issues, etc.

If a raptor is poisoned by lead, they can be more prone at being hit by vehicles, hitting windows and other objects, and not be able to find food. If you find a downed raptor acting abnormally, please call OWL immediately.

Lead Poison Information Flyers

Please feel free to print and hand out our information flyers to help raise awareness.

© 2016 OWL Rehab - Rescue. Rehabilitate. Release.

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