A migratory population of 78 pairs of Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) nesting along the Willamette River in westernOregon was studied in 1993. The study was designed to determinecontaminant concentrations in eggs, contaminant concentrationsin fish species predominant in the Ospreys diet, andBiomagnification Factors (BMFs) of contaminants from fish specieseaten to Osprey eggs. Ten Osprey eggs and 25 composite samplesof fish (3 species) were used to evaluate organochlorine (OC)pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinateddibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), and polychlorinated dibenzofurans(PCDFs). Mercury was also analyzed in fish. Geometric meanresidues in Osprey eggs were judged low, e.g., DDE 2.3 g g-1 wet weight (ww), PCBs 0.69 g g-1, 2,3,7,8-TCDD 2.3 ng kg-1, and generally well below known threshold values for adverse effects on productivity, and the population was increasing. Osprey egg residue data presentedby River Mile (RM) are discussed, e.g., higher PCDDs were generally found immediately downstream of paper mills and eggsfrom the Willamette River had significantly elevated PCBs and PCDDs compared to reference eggs collected nearby in the CascadeMountains. Prey remains at nest sites indicated that the Largescale Sucker (Catostomus macrocheilus) and NorthernPikeminnow (Ptychocheilus oregonensis) accounted for an estimated 90.1% of the biomass in the Osprey diet, and composite samples of these two species were collected from different sampling sites throughout the study area for contaminant analyses. With the large percentage of the fishbiomass in the Osprey diet sampled for contaminants (and fisheaten by Ospreys similar in size to those chemically analyzed),and fish contaminant concentrations weighted by biomass intake, a mean BMF was estimated from fish to Osprey eggs for the largeseries of contaminants. BMFs ranged from no biomagnification(0.42) for 2,3,7,8-TCDF to 174 for OCDD. Our findings for themigratory Osprey were compared to BMFs for the resident HerringGull (Larus argentatus), and differences are discussed. Webelieve a BMF approach provides some basic understanding ofrelationships between contaminant burdens in prey species offish-eating birds and contaminants incorporated into their eggs,and may prove useful in understanding sources of contaminants inmigratory species although additional studies are needed.
Additional publication details
Biomagnification factors (fish to osprey eggs from Willamette River, Oregon, U.S.A.) for PCDDS, PCDFS, PCBS, and OC pesticides