Elevated Lead Exposure in American Woodcock (Scolopax minor) in Eastern Canada
We investigated the degree and incidence of elevated lead (Pb) accumulation in the American woodcock (Scolopax minor) in eastern Canada by measuring the concentration of Pb in undamaged wing bones of 1,588 birds from Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Overall median bone-Pb concentrations were 21 μg/g (DW) for adults and 11 μg/g for young of the year. A high proportion of birds had elevated Pb concentrations, compared with other wild bird species. Fifty-two percent of adults and 29% of young of the year had bone concentrations exceeding 20 μg/g. Pb concentration varied significantly with age, gender, and geographical region (p ≤ 0.0001). Mean Pb concentrations were lower for young of the year than for adults and lower for males than for females in both age groups. Atlantic Canada (New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) tended to have the highest frequency of individuals with elevated Pb accumulation. Potential sources of Pb exposure in woodcock include ingestion of spent lead shot from hunting, ingestion of Pb-contaminated soil, and/or ingestion of Pb-contaminated earthworms.
KeywordsGeographical Region Bird Species Nova Scotia Wild Bird Lead Exposure
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