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

  • Thomas W. Custer
  • Nancy H. Golden
  • Barnett A. Rattner


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.


Elements Feathers Metals Black-crowned night-heron 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas W. Custer
    • 1
  • Nancy H. Golden
    • 2
  • Barnett A. Rattner
    • 2
  1. 1.Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences CenterUS Geological SurveyLa CrosseUSA
  2. 2.Beltsville Laboratory, Patuxent Wildlife Research CenterUS Geological SurveyBeltsvilleUSA

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