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Environ Pollut. 2001;112(2):153-62.

Exposure of migrant bald eagles to lead in prairie Canada.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Saskatchewan, 112 Science Place, Saskatoon SK, Canada S7N 5E2. millerm@skyway.usask.ca


The prevalence of elevated exposure to lead was assessed in a migrant population of bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) at a waterfowl staging area in the southern portion of the Canadian prairies, from September to November, 1992-1995. Of 103 eagles, 8% exhibited blood lead (PbB) concentrations suggestive of elevated exposure to lead (> or = 0.200 microgram ml-1 wet wt.). PbB concentrations in eagles from the study area ranged from < 0.01 to 0.585 microgram ml-1, while those of nestling eagles from a reference site indicated normal or background exposure (< 0.01 microgram ml-1). No differences in the prevalence of elevated exposure were detected among genders or age classes (0.5- and > or = 1.5-year-old birds) (P > 0.05). The prevalence of elevated exposure was significantly greater in November than in October (21.7 vs. 3.8%) (all years: chi 2Y = 5.75, P = 0.017). Eagles with shotshell pellets in the digestive tract did not have accompanying high PbB concentrations. The prevalence of elevated lead exposure in this study was low in comparison to other areas in North America. Potential biases in the trapping technique as they relate to interpreting the results are addressed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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