Dunlins Caldris alpina, and black-bellied plovers, Pluvialis squatarola, were collected in Washington and California during the winter of 1984-85; long-billed dowitchers, Limnodromus scolopaceus, were collected in California. Pooled breast muscles (by species, location, and date) were analyzed for organochlorines and pooled livers for mercury and selenium. DDE was detected in all eight dunlin, three of five dowitcher, and two of nine plover muscle pools. Estimated DDE concentrations in dunlin carcasses at two sites in California were greater than 3 ppm wet wt, a dietary concentration associated with eggshell thinning and decreased reproductive success in raptors. Detectable concentrations of mercury and selenium were found in all liver pools. Selenium concentrations in plovers from two sites in Washington were elevated (26.9 and 29.9 ppm dry wt), but below concentrations shown to affect reproductive success in black-necked stilts, Himantopus mexicanus. Elevated mercury concentrations in livers of dunlin from Bodega Bay (18.9 ppm dry wt) and Salinas River (16.3 ppm dry wt), California were below levels associated with acute toxicity.
Additional publication details
Organochlorines, mercury, and selenium in wintering shorebirds from Washington and California