Selected rice fields on the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex were aerially sprayed one time during May or June 1982 with either ethyl (0.11 kg Al/ha) or methyl (0.84 kg AI/ha) parathion for control of tadpole shrimp, Triops longicaudatus. No sick or dead vertebrate wildlife were found or adjacent to the treated rice fields after spraying. Specimens of the following birds and mammals were assayed for brain cholinesterase (ChE) activity to determine exposure to either form of parathion; house mouse, Mus musculus; black-tailed jackrabbit, Lepus californicus; mallard, Anas platyrhynchos; ring-necked pheasant, Phasianus colchicus; American coot, Fulica americana; and red-winged blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus. Both mice and pheasants from methyl parathion-treated fields had overall mean ChE activities that were significantly (P < 0.05) inhibited compared with controls, and 7, 40, 54 and 57% of individual blackbirds, pheasant, mice, and coots, respectively, had inhibited brain ChE activities (i.e., less than -2 SD of control mean). Although no overall species effect was detected for ethyl parathoid treatment, pheasants (43%), coots (33%), and mice (37%) had significantly inhibited brain ChE activities. Neither of the parathion treatment appeared acutely hazardous to wildlife in or adjacent to rice fields, but sufficient information on potential hazards was obtained to warrant caution in use of these chemicals, especially methyl parathion, in rice fields.