Archived Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) eggs (N = 16) collected in 1993 from three colonies on the Mississippi River in Minnesota were analyzed in 2007 for perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). One of the three colonies, Pig's Eye, was located near a presumed source of PFCs. Based on a multivariate analysis, the pattern of nine PFC concentrations differed significantly between Pig's Eye and the upriver (P = 0.002) and downriver (P = 0.02) colonies; but not between the upriver and downriver colonies (P = 0.25). Mean concentrations of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), a major PFC compound, were significantly higher at the Pig's Eye colony (geometric mean = 940 ng/g wet weight) than at upriver (60 ng/g wet weight) and downriver (131 ng/g wet weight) colonies. Perfluorooctane sulfonate concentrations from the Pig's Eye colony are among the highest reported in bird eggs. Concentrations of PFOS in Great Blue Heron eggs from Pig's Eye were well below the toxicity thresholds estimated for Bobwhite Quail (Colinus virginianus) and Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), but within the toxicity threshold estimated for White Leghorn Chickens (Gallus domesticus). The pattern of six PBDE congener concentrations did not differ among the three colonies (P = 0.08). Total PBDE concentrations, however, were significantly greater (P = 0.03) at Pig's Eye (geometric mean = 142 ng/g wet weight) than the upriver colony (13 ng/g wet weight). Polybrominated diphenyl ether concentrations in two of six Great Blue Heron eggs from the Pig's Eye colony were within levels associated with altered reproductive behavior in American Kestrels (Falco sparverius).
Additional publication details
Perfluorinated Compounds and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers in Great Blue Heron Eggs from Three Colonies on the Mississippi River, Minnesota