Document Detail

Metal concentrations, foraging distances, and fledging success of great blue herons nesting along the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15931979     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
An ecological risk assessment of the spatial distribution of metal concentrations along the Hanford Reach of the free-flowing Columbia River in southcentral Washington, identified great blue herons, Ardea herodias, at potential risk through the ingestion of contaminated riverine biota, especially fish. We measured metal concentrations in livers of pre-flight herons from the Hanford Reach and excrement samples taken from the same nests. Nests were distributed among three colonies situated upstream and downstream from nine retired plutonium production reactors along the river where metals in reactor coolant waters had been released directly into the river or disposed to shoreline retention basins and ditches. Distances traveled by parent herons to foraging areas along the river shore were determined by visually tracking parent birds as they flew from nests to upriver and downriver foraging sites. Foraging flight distances varied between colonies with mean distances ranging between 0.7 and 3.1 km. Cadmium, Cr, and Pb concentrations were higher in excrement than in the livers of pre-flight herons but the opposite was noted for Cu, Hg, and Zn. Highest metal concentrations of Cr, Cu, Zn, Cd, and Pb, were measured in excrement taken from heron nests at the colony located upstream from all reactors. These results were consistent with metal concentrations reported in river sediment from the same regions, indicating excrement from the heron nests may be a useful indicator of dietary uptake of metals by herons. Fledging success and eggshell thickness measurements were used as an index of health of the local heron population. The results indicate that the reproductive health of great blue herons nesting along the Hanford Reach is among the highest reported in the continental United States.
Brett L Tiller; J D Marco; W H Rickard
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Environmental monitoring and assessment     Volume:  104     ISSN:  0167-6369     ISO Abbreviation:  Environ Monit Assess     Publication Date:  2005 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-06-03     Completed Date:  2005-07-21     Revised Date:  2009-05-11    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8508350     Medline TA:  Environ Monit Assess     Country:  Netherlands    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  71-9     Citation Subset:  IM    
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Birds / physiology*
Feces / chemistry
Feeding Behavior*
Food Contamination
Liver / chemistry
Water Pollutants, Radioactive / analysis*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Water Pollutants, Radioactive

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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