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Environ Toxicol Chem. 2014 Aug;33(8):1832-9. doi: 10.1002/etc.2609. Epub 2014 Jun 11.

Contaminant exposure of birds nesting in Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA.

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US Geological Survey, La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA.


In earlier studies, elevated concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) were reported in double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) eggs and tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) eggs and nestlings collected from lower Green Bay (WI, USA) in 1994 and 1995 and black-crowned night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) eggs collected in 1991. Comparable samples collected in 2010 and 2011 indicated that concentrations of PCBs were 35%, 62%, 70%, and 88% lower than in the early 1990s in tree swallow eggs, tree swallow nestlings, double-crested cormorant eggs, and black-crowned night-heron eggs, respectively; concentrations of DDE were 47%, 43%, 51%, and 80% lower, respectively. These declines are consistent with regional contaminant trends in other species. Concentrations of PCBs were higher in herring gull (Larus argentatus) than in black-crowned night-heron eggs collected from Green Bay in 2010; PCB concentrations in double-crested cormorant and tree swallow eggs were intermediate. The estimated toxicity of the PCB mixture in eggs of the insectivorous tree swallow was the equal to or greater than toxicity in the 3 piscivorous bird species. A multivariate analysis indicated that the composition percentage of lower-numbered PCB congeners was greater in eggs of the insectivorous tree swallow than in eggs of the 3 piscivorous species nesting in Green Bay. Dioxin and furan concentrations and the toxicity of these chemicals were also higher in tree swallows than these other waterbird species nesting in Green Bay.


Dioxins; Double-crested cormorant; Pesticides; Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); Tree swallow

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