US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in THE WILSON BULLETIN Vol. 100, No. 2, June 1988.


The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalusis) a common winter resident along the Platte and North Platte rivers in southcentral Nebraska. Waterfowl are a major food of eagles during periods when fish are not readily available (Lingle and Krapu 1986). Eating ducks and geese can make eagles susceptible to lead poisoning, a significant cause of mortality of Bald Eagles in North America (Kaiser et al. 1980). Eagles ingest lead shot from waterfowl by eating shot imbedded in tissues or as part of the contents of digestive tracts. In this paper we describe the incidence of lead shot and Fish and Wildlife Service aluminum leg bands in regurgitated pellets of Bald Eagles along the Platte and North Platte rivers during the winters of 1978- 79 and 1979-80. Documentation of aluminum bands in egested pellets was incidental to the evaluation of occurrence of lead shot.