Six month old Lesser Scaup and nestling Tree Swallows were injected intraperitoneally with beta-naphthoflavone (BNF) or vehicle. Nestling Tree Swallows were also collected from five sites with differing levels of contaminants. Liver samples were taken and stored at -80C until microsome preparation and monooxygenase (MO) assay. Skin and heart samples were placed in buffered formalin until immunohistochemical (IMHC) analysis for cytochrome P4501A (CYP1A). Scaup treated with BNF at 20 or 100 mg/kg body weight showed approximately 20- to 65-fold increases in four MOs. Responses of two of the four MOs were as high at 20 mg/kg as at 100mg/kg. There was no IMHC response in the vehicle-injected ducks, while in skin the IMHC response was the same for both dose levels of BNF and in heart there was response in two of four samples at 20 mg/kg and in all five samples at 100mg/kg. Tree Swallows injected with BNF at 100, but not at 20 mg/kg showed significant increases (ca.5-fold) in two MO activities. There was no IMHC response in control swallows. In skin and heart there were IMHC responses in one of five swallows at 20 mg/kg and four of five swallows at 100mg/kg. There was poor correlation between individual skin IMHC responses and MO activities and PCB concentrations in 47 field-collected Tree Swallow samples, but 14 of the 16 skin samples with positive IMHC responses were from the location with the highest MO activities and PCB concentrations. Although present data do not allow construction of significant dose response curves, the responses in skin make it well worth continuing study on this potential nonlethal technique for biomonitoring contaminant exposure of birds.