U.S. Geological Survey Home Page USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Science Meetings; dedicated to Chandler S. Robbins USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center; Science Meetings dedicated to Chandler S. Robbins Dedicated to Chan Robbins USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center; Science Meetings dedicated to Chandler S. Robbins Poster Abstracts from USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Science Meetings, October, 2006
Patuxent Science Meeting 2006 Poster Abstract

The evaluation of risk to songbirds from heavy metals in soil

Hansen JH (FWS), Audet DJ (FWS), Beyer WN, Healy K, Gaston G (FWS)

The evaluation of risk to songbirds from heavy metals in soil has largely been based on

assumptions about the contaminant pathway, soil ingestion rates, and toxic effects. We

conducted a field study to determine lead (Pb) exposure, pathway, and potential effects on

songbirds in the Coeur d'Alene River Basin, Idaho. The goal of the study was to provide data to

evaluate the risk to songbirds in the Pb-contaminated riparian zones. In this study, we

collected blood samples from American robin, song sparrow, and Swainson's thrush to measure

blood lead concentrations, blood ALAD concentrations, and percent hematocrit in blood. In a

subset of birds collected, we determined liver Pb and stomach content (ingesta) Pb

concentrations. We also measured Pb concentrations in soil and invertebrate samples.

Aluminum was measured in soil, invertebrates, and stomach contents to provide an estimate of

soil ingestion rate. We observed strong correlations between Pb concentrations in soil and

blood lead concentrations, liver Pb concentrations, stomach content concentrations and blood

ALAD levels in songbirds. The three species were different in how they accumulated Pb from

soil, even though they had similar feeding strategies during the breeding season.

Friday, September 22, 2006



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