Officials puzzled by bald eagle sickness, deaths

MILTON, Fla. (AP) — Wildlife officials are puzzled over what sickened six bald eagles in the Florida Panhandle.

In late February, a state employee found four of the eagles — two dead and two seriously ill — near a landfill in Milton. Wildlife officials later found two more sick eagles nearby.

An investigator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said tests have shown all of the birds suffered from severe food poisoning, which is rare for the species. But the Pensacola News Journal reports (http://on.pnj.com/1vkBhGa ) the cause of the illness hasn't been determined.

Officials haven't ruled out the possibility the eagles were poisoned. Necropsies on the dead birds are being conducted at a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lab in Oregon, but it could take five months before results are complete.

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Information from: Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, http://www.pensacolanewsjournal.com

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