Bald eagle named Darby dies from lead poisoning

Perry Backus

It was just before Christmas when Kathy Richardson and her husband noticed the large bald eagle on the ground near a stackyard of hay.

When they walked up to it, the eagle flopped around a bit before finally being able to take off and fly. It circled a couple of times before landing on one of the ranch roads southeast of Darby.

Richardson returned the next morning hoping to get a photograph.

She found the eagle in a corral.

“It was hanging its head and not doing anything,” Richardson said. “We have lots of eagles on the ranch. It was the first time we had ever seen one like that.”

Her post of the haunting photo of the eagle with its head dropped standing immobile in the snow led to a call to Potomac’s Wild Skies Raptor Center with hopes the eagle, later named Darby, could be saved.

By the time it arrived at the rehabilitation center, the eagle could no longer stand despite the fact it otherwise looked perfectly healthy.

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The center’s executive director, Brooke Tanner, had seen it before. She quickly diagnosed acute lead poisoning and

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