Skip to main content.
University of Minnesota. Driven to Discover.
The Raptor Center (TRC) profile picture

Poisoned eagles found near landfill desperately need your help!

A personal campaign sponsored by The Raptor Center (TRC)


Thanks to Tom and Ann Schwalen your gift will be matched up to $5,000 to help The Raptor Center treat poisoned eagles in need!

UPDATE: Thanks to the generosity of this amazing community, coming together to support these eagles, we have been able to meet our initial goal. The money raised through this campaign will go a long way toward helping cover our projected expenses. The Raptor Center hospital, which is nearly 100% funded by philanthropic giving, provides specialized medical treatment to over 1,000 wild eagles, hawks, owls, vultures, falcons, and osprey every year. Any additional funds raised through this campaign will go directly to our continued efforts to care for future birds that enter our hospital, often due to the unfortunate, and sometimes tragic, consequences of human behavior.

On Sunday, December 4th, the Inver Grove Heights Police Department brought in a sick juvenile bald eagle that they had found in the snow. On intake, TRC’s Medical Director, Dr. Dana, found that it was highly likely that it was suffering from pentobarbital poisoning, the primary agent used in euthanasia solution. Eagles can get secondary poisoning if they scavenge on the body of an animal that was euthanized with the chemical. This bird was flu tested and admitted for care.

The next day, December 5th, another bird in similar condition was found in the same area near a landfill in Inver Grove Heights. TRC volunteers immediately went out to rescue it and quickly found not 1 but 9 additional birds also showing similar clinical signs. On December 6, US Fish and Wildlife found one more eagle, bringing the number of eagles admitted to TRC to 11. The suspicion that these birds were suffering from pentobarbital poisoning was further heightened when it was confirmed that carcasses of animals that had been euthanized with chemicals were brought to the landfill on Friday and could have been scavenged on by eagles. 

One of the eagles brought to The Raptor Center for care

Of the 11, three birds were also suffering from severe lead poisoning and one bird, also infected with avian influenza, has since passed. The remaining 10 patients are still alive and under the intensive care of our expert veterinary staff. State and federal agencies are investigating the incident and US Fish and Wildlife obtained all samples collected by TRC for toxicology testing. This heartbreaking incident is yet another example of how critical it is for humans to be mindful of what we are putting into the environment. We are all connected, and sometimes our actions can have unintended and devastating consequences.

Please, make a gift now and help us provide emergency care for these birds!

Thanks to Tom and Ann Schwalen your gift to help eagles in care at The Raptor Center will be matched up to $5,000!

We are grateful to KSTP-TV news who visited TRC to cover this story. Watch their story here

To see more, view coverage by WCCO and Minnesota Public Radio

If you have any questions about supporting The Raptor Center or need assistance, please contact Ellen Orndorf at or 612-624-8457.