Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

, Volume 81, Issue 2, pp 147–151

Element Patterns in Feathers of Nestling Black-Crowned Night-Herons, Nycticorax nycticorax L., from Four Colonies in Delaware, Maryland, and Minnesota


    • Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences CenterUS Geological Survey
  • Nancy H. Golden
    • Beltsville Laboratory, Patuxent Wildlife Research CenterUS Geological Survey
  • Barnett A. Rattner
    • Beltsville Laboratory, Patuxent Wildlife Research CenterUS Geological Survey

DOI: 10.1007/s00128-008-9444-3

Cite this article as:
Custer, T.W., Golden, N.H. & Rattner, B.A. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol (2008) 81: 147. doi:10.1007/s00128-008-9444-3


The pattern of elements in nestling black-crowned night-heron feathers from a rural Minnesota colony differed from colonies in industrialized regions of Maryland and Delaware. Except for chromium, however, the differences did not reflect the elements associated with waters and sediments of the Maryland and Delaware colonies. Therefore, elements in water and sediment do not necessarily bioaccumulate in night-heron feathers in relation to potential exposure. Although trace element patterns in feathers indicated differences among geographical locations, they did not separate all locations well and their usefulness as an indicator of natal colony location may be limited.


ElementsFeathersMetalsBlack-crowned night-heron

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008