Brain and plasma cholinesterase (ChE) activities were determined for mallard ducklings (Anas platyrhynchos) exposed to dicrotophos and fenthion. Recovery rates of brain ChE did not differ between ducklings administered a single oral dose vs. a 2-week dietary dose of these organophosphates. Exposure to the organophosphates, followed by recovery of brain ChE, did not significantly affect the degree of brain ChE inhibition or the recovery of ChE activity at a subsequent exposure. Recovery of brain ChE activity followed the general model Y = a + b(logX) with rapid recovery to about 50% of normal, followed by a slower rate of recovery until normal ChE activity levels were attained. Fenthion and dicrotophos-inhibited brain ChE were only slightly reactivated in vitro by pyridine-2-aldoxime methiodide, which suggested that spontaneous reactivation was not a primary method of recovery of ChE activity. Recovery of brain ChE activity can be modeled for interpretation of sublethal inhibition of brain ChE activities in wild birds following environmental applications of organophosphates. Plasma ChE activity is inferior to brain ChE activity for environmental monitoring, because of its rapid recovery and large degree of variation among individuals.