Article

Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 386-390

First online:

Organochlorine pesticide contamination in neotropical migrant passerines

  • R. G. HarperAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Illinois Wesleyan University
  • , J. A. FrickAffiliated withDepartment of Chemistry, Illinois Wesleyan University
  • , A. P. CapparellaAffiliated withEcology Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Illinois State University
  • , B. BorupAffiliated withDepartment of Chemistry, Illinois Wesleyan University
  • , M. NowakAffiliated withDepartment of Chemistry, Illinois Wesleyan University
  • , D. BiesingerAffiliated withDaily Analytical Laboratories
  • , C. F. ThompsonAffiliated withEcology Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Illinois State University

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Abstract

Organochlorine pesticide levels were determined in Neotropical migrant passerines which have populations reported to be declining. Pesticide residues ranging from 0.385 to 27.4 ng/g were found in 19 of 21 birds, including both Hatch Year (HY) and After Hatch Year (AHY) age classes of nine different species. Eighteen of the 19 birds contained p,p'-DDE, while dieldrin was found in 16 birds and heptachlor epoxide was present in 10 birds. There were no significant differences in pesticide levels between HY and AHY birds, suggesting that HY birds are exposed to pesticides in their diet on the breeding ground or that pesticides are acquired from contaminated mothers, or both. Pesticide levels were not related to gender. Although the effects of these low residue levels on passerine fecundity are unknown, their presence has potential conservation implications for passerines and for the raptorial birds that feed upon them.