Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 383–386 | Cite as

Excrement from Heron colonies for environmental assessment of toxic elements

  • R. E. Fitzner
  • W. H. Rickard
  • W. T. Hinds
Article

Abstract

Excrement cast from Great Blue Heron nests was collected during the nesting period of 1978 from four colonies in Washington and Idaho. Cheesecloth strips placed on the ground beneath the nests served as excrement collecting devices. Chemical analysis for lead, mercury and cadmium were performed on dried samples. Lead was the most abundant trace metal found in heron debris. The Idaho colony at Lake Chatcolet had an average concentration of 46 ppm in the beneath-nest samples and 6 ppm in control samples. A heron colony near Tacoma, Washington had beneath-nest samples averaging 28 ppm and control samples averaging 20 ppm. Two colonies located in the interior region of Washington had substantially lower concentrations of lead. The difference observed between colonies was attributed to their associations with a polluted watershed (Chatcolet colony) an interstate highway (Tacoma colony) and an unpopulated largely agricultural area (inland Washington).

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. American Ornithologists' Union: 1957, Check-list of North American Birds, 5th ed. Amer. Ornithol. Union, Baltimore.Google Scholar
  2. Bent, A. C.: 1926, Life Histories of North American Marsh Birds, U.S. Natl. Mus. Bull. 135.Google Scholar
  3. Custer, T. W. and Osborn, R. G.: 1977, Wading Birds as Biological Indicators: 1975 Colony Survey, U.S. Dept. of Interior. Fish and Wild. Serv. Special Scientific Report No. 206, 28 pp.Google Scholar
  4. Custer, T. W. and Osborn, R. G.: 1978, ‘Feeding Habitat Use by Colonially - Breeding Herons, Egrets, and Ibises in North Carolina’, The Auk 95, 733–743.Google Scholar
  5. English, S. M.: 1978, ‘Distribution and Ecology of Great Blue Heron Colonies on the Willamette River, Oregon’, in A. Sprunt IV, J. C. Ogden, and S. Winckler (eds.), Wading Birds, National Aubudon Society, New York, New York, pp. 235–255.Google Scholar
  6. Kushlan, J. A.: 1978, ‘Feeding Ecology of Wading Birds’, in A. Sprunt IV, J. C. Ogden, and S. Winckler (eds.), Wading Birds, National Audubon Society, New York, New York, pp. 249–297.Google Scholar
  7. Palmer, R. S. (ed.): 1962, Handbook of North American Birds, Vol. I, Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut.Google Scholar
  8. Rabe, F. W. and Bauer, S. B.: 1977, ‘Heavy Metals on Lakes of the Couer d'Alene River Valley, Idaho’, Northwest Sci. 51, 183–197.Google Scholar
  9. Rickard, W. H., Hedlund, J. D., and Schreckhise, R. G.: 1978, ‘Rejecta Cast from Heron Nests as an Indicator of Food Chain Contamination’, The Auk 95, 425–427.Google Scholar
  10. Vermeer, K.: 1973, ‘Great Blue Heron and Double-crested Cormorant Colonies in the Prairie Provinces’, The Canadian Field Naturalist 87, 427–432.Google Scholar
  11. Werschkul, D., McMahon, E., Leitzchuk, M., English, M., Skibinski, C., and Williamson, G.: 1977, ‘Observations on the Reproductive Ecology of the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) in Western Oregon’, The Murrelet 58, 7–12.Google Scholar
  12. Wiese, J. H.: 1978, ‘Heron Nest-site Selection and Its Ecological Effects’, in A. Sprunt IV, J. C. Ogden, and S. Winckler (eds.), Wading Birds, National Audubon Society, New York, New York, pp. 27–34.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. E. Fitzner
    • 1
  • W. H. Rickard
    • 1
  • W. T. Hinds
    • 1
  1. 1.Pacific Northwest LaboratoryOperated by the Battelle Memorial InstituteRichlandUSA

Personalised recommendations