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Environmental contaminants, human disturbance and nesting of double-crested cormorants in northwestern Washington

Colonial Waterbirds

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Abstract

Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) in extreme northwestern Washington produced few young (0.27/occupied nest) in 1984; the clutch size was generally small and eggs, if laid at all, were laid later than usual. Residues (geometric means, wet weight) of DDE (0.58 and 0.59 ppm) in eggs from Colville Island and Protection Island were lower than from other locations in the Pacific Northwest, while PCBs (2.19 and 1.37 ppm) were similar to those at most locations. Both contaminants in 1984 were below levels associated with reproductive problems. Eggs also contained concentrations of mercury (0.26 and 0.27 ppm) and selenium (0.31 and 0.28 ppm) below levels associated with reproductive problems. The distribution of nesting colonies in the study area changed dramatically since 1984. The cormorants were most likely responding to increased human disturbance in the San Juan Islands, coupled to additional protection and reduced human activity on Protection and Smith Islands. This presumably led to the abandonment of all nesting islands in the San Juans. The nesting population in the study area in 1988 (all on Protection and Smith Islands) was the highest recorded.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Environmental contaminants, human disturbance and nesting of double-crested cormorants in northwestern Washington
Series title:
Colonial Waterbirds
Volume
12
Issue:
2
Year Published:
1989
Language:
English
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
198-206
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Colonial Waterbirds
First page:
198
Last page:
206
Number of Pages:
9