Changes in productivity and contaminants in bald eagles nesting along the lower Columbia River, USA

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
By: , and 



Previous studies documented poor productivity of bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in the lower Columbia River (LCR), USA, and elevated p,p???-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins, and furans in eagle eggs. From 1994 to 1995, we collected partially incubated eggs at 19 of 43 occupied territories along the LCR and compared productivity and egg contaminants to values obtained in the mid-1980s. We found higher productivity at new nesting sites along the river, yet productivity at 23 older breeding territories remained low and was not different (p = 0.713) between studies. Eggshell thickness at older territories had not improved (p = 0.404), and eggshells averaged 11% thinner than shells measured before dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane use. Decreases in DDE (p = 0.022) and total PCBs (p = 0.0004) in eggs from older breeding areas occurred between study periods. Productivity was not correlated to contaminants, but DDE, PCBs, and dioxin-like chemicals exceeded estimated no-effect values. Some dioxin-like contaminants in eggs were correlated to nest location, with highest concentrations occurring toward the river's mouth where productivity was lowest. Although total productivity increased due to the success of new nesting pairs in the region, egg contaminants remain high enough to impair reproduction at older territories and, over time, may alter productivity of new pairs nesting near the river's mouth. ?? 2005 SETAC.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Changes in productivity and contaminants in bald eagles nesting along the lower Columbia River, USA
Series title Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
DOI 10.1897/03-621.1
Volume 24
Issue 7
Year Published 2005
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Columbia Environmental Research Center
Description 14 p.
First page 1779
Last page 1792
Country United States
State Oregon, Washington
Other Geospatial Lower Columbia River
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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