Fifth Utah eagle dies, another shows signs of mystery malady

 Twelve eagles have died; one is undergoing treatment.

By brett prettyman – The Salt Lake Tribune

 First Published Dec 19 2013 09:51 am • Updated 8 hours ago

A fifth bald eagle suffering from a mysterious malady has been euthanized, a sixth is receiving treatment — and the outbreak now includes seven more eagles found dead in the wild.

Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) officials confirm that 12 bald eagles have died in northern Utah this month from a still unknown cause.

 Bald Eagle

The fifth bald eagle to receive treatment was delivered to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah on Saturday from West Weber. It was euthanized because its health declined “very quickly,” said DaLyn Erickson with the center.

The surviving eagle, an immature female spotted by a hiker near Centerville, arrived at the Ogden center Wednesday. Likely hatched this spring, the juvenile displays the same head tremors and lower extremity paralysis as the previous eagles, Erickson said.

As the mystery persists. Erickson is afraid “what we are seeing is only the tip of the iceberg.”

Six distressed eagles have been reported by members of the public and delivered by Utah Division of Wildlife Resources officials to the Ogden center or the Great Basin Wildlife Rescue in Mapleton.

Two of those eagles came from West Weber. The others have come from Corrine, Grantsville and Lehi. One of the dead birds was found on the Provo River Trail in Utah County.

Preliminary results from the first birds’ tests for illnesses including West Nile virus, lead poisoning and avian cholera are expected to arrive late this week or early next week from the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis.

Results from more thorough testing to hone in on the exact cause of the deaths will likely not be available until after Christmas.

It is likely that the dying eagles recently migrated to Utah from other states.

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