Lead poisoning, resulting from ingestion of spent shot, has been identified as a cause of mortality in Spectacled Eiders (Somateria fischeri) on the Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska. We examined lead-exposure rates of adult and juvenile Spectacled Eiders and other diving ducks, using atomic absorption spectrophotometry of blood samples. Additionally, we X-rayed birds in the field to identify ingested shot. We detected shot in the gizzards of 11.6% of Spectacled Eiders X-rayed. During the period from arrival through incubation, 13.0% of adult females and 6.6% of adult males had elevated blood lead levels when captured. During the brood-rearing period, 35.8% of adult females and 12.2% of ducklings were exposed to lead when captured. There was an increase in the probability of exposure of adult females with date sampled. We predict that 50% of the successfully breeding hens were likely exposed to lead, and 25–37% of the Spectacled Eider breeding population was exposed to lead. The long-term effects of sublethal doses on Spectacled Eiders are unknown; however, exposure of nesting females and young birds to lead may result in reduced over-winter survival and (or) reduced fecundity.
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Exposure of Spectacled Eiders and other diving ducks to lead in western Alaska|
|Series title||Canadian Journal of Zoology|
|Publisher||NRC Research Press|
|Contributing office(s)||Alaska Science Center|
|Other Geospatial||Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|