The American Bald Eagle , a federally protected bird once considered endangered, is facing a new threat.
Conservationists say the majestic birds are being poisoned, and the number of cases are rising.
Some worry the problem will not slow down.
We rescued this Bald Eagle last night. He is in critical condition. We can safely assume he has lead poisoning. We have started him on a chelating drug to try to push the poison out. Please keep him, our other poisoned raptors, & our dedicated staff in your thoughts. pic.twitter.com/AUx45YyguT
— Fontenelle Forest (@fontenelle4est) February 20, 2018
The Fontenelle Forest Raptor Recovery holds dozens of birds of all kinds who need some help before they are well enough to be freed or put to rest.
Finch said she can easily tell when an eagle has lead poisoning.
"Inability to stand, convulsions, head tremors, difficulty breathing, gastrointestinal distress," she said, "because lead paralyzes the gut, so they can't digest food, dehydration."
Many hunters tell 3 News Now the reason they use lead ammunition is it is heavier than steel or copper, it reaches the target more accurately, and it's cheaper overall.
"Cost is a factor for a lot of people," Finch said.
The start of 2018 has been hard for Finch putting her time and energy into sometimes a losing effort.
"Because there are others that need our help," she said.
While she hopes hunters will think twice before firing off their rifles with lead bullets, she doesn't blame all hunters for this problems because they often are the ones who find these eagles and bring them in.