Blood samples collected in 1979-81 from wintering Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in Oregon and northern California, residents in Oregon, migrants in Montana and residents in Washington were analyzed for lead (Pb), mercury (Hg) and organochlorines. Lead was detected infrequently (5%) and at low concentrations (<0.25 ppm) in nestlings from Oregon, more frequently (41%) and at occasionally elevated concentrations (>0.40 ppm) in wintering Bald Eagles in Oregon and north California and migrants in Montana, and most frequently (56%) in nestlings from Washington but at low concentrations (<0.40 ppm). Mercury concentrations were low (<0.70 ppm) in samples from Washington nestlings and higher in samples from Oregon and northern California birds and in Montana migrants. Adults tended to have higher concentrations of Hg than hatch year birds or nestlings. Two Bald Eagles from Montana had clearly elevated Hg concentrations (7.0 and 9.5 ppm). DDE and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentrations were generally low (most means <0.20 ppm) with adults having higher concentrations than subadults or nestlings. A few resident adult Bald Eagles from Oregon had elevated concentrations of DDE.
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Environmental contaminants in blood of western bald eagles