Lead hazards within the range of the California condor

The Condor
By: , and 



The prevalence of lead in Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) occurring within the recent historical range of the California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) was determined by analyzing blood samples from 162 Golden Eagles captured between June 1985 and December 1986 at three sites. We found no significant differences between sex and age classes in blood lead levels nor were there differences between residents and migrants. Significant differences were found between months with the highest blood lead levels occurring during the fall/winter period. Approximately one-third (35.8%) of the Golden Eagle population sampled had elevated blood lead levels, values similar to those reported for free-flying California Condors. Given this rate of exposure, if the proposed releases of California Condors back to the wild are to succeed, whether in their former range or elsewhere, any potential for lead poisoning must be reduced. It is essential that we identify the sources of the lead, the seasonal and geographic distribution of these sources, and develop management strategies to reduce or eliminate the hazard.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Lead hazards within the range of the California condor
Series title The Condor
Volume 92
Issue 4
Year Published 1990
Language English
Contributing office(s) National Wildlife Health Center
Description p. 931-937
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title The Condor
First page 931
Last page 937
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