A 12-year-old female bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) was found in May 1993 on Santa Catalina Island, California (USA), in a debilitated condition, exhibiting ataxia and tremors; it died within hours. On necropsy, the bird was emaciated but had no evidence of disease or physical injury. Chemical analyses were negative for organophosphorus pesticides and lead poisoning. High concentrations of DDE (wet weight basis) were found in the brain (212 ppm), liver (838 ppm), and serum (53 ppm). Mobilization of DDE, from depleted fat deposits, probably resulted in the lethal concentration in the eagle's brain.