American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) are colonial nesters, making them susceptible to site-specific mortality factors. One of the largest known breeding colonies is at Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge in North Dakota. In 2004, this colony suffered total reproductive failure. In 2005, we collected abandoned eggs from this colony to test for environmental contaminants. Nine eggs were analyzed for 28 organochlorine pesticides, total polychlorinated biphenyls, and 26 inorganic elements. Based on concentrations in this sample of eggs and levels linked to reproductive problems in birds, adult pelicans in the Chase Lake breeding colony are not at known risk from any of the environmental contaminants we measured.
Additional publication details
Contaminant levels in eggs of American white pelicans, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos, from Chase Lake, North Dakota