Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 153, Issue 3, pp 995–998 | Cite as

Strong circumstantial evidence for ethanol toxicosis in Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum)

  • Hailu Kinde
  • Eileen Foate
  • Emily Beeler
  • Fransisco Uzal
  • Janet Moore
  • Robert Poppenga
Short Note

Abstract

Several flocks of Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) were found dead after colliding with solid objects such as picture windows, plexiglass, and fences. Necropsy examination revealed that all birds had engorged themselves with over-ripe berries of the Brazilian Pepper Tree (Schinus terebinthifolius) and had hemorrhages in the breast muscles and the coelomic cavity due to hepatic rupture. Microscopic examination of tissues revealed no underlying pathological conditions. Ethanol was detected at levels of 260–1,000 ppm in the intestinal contents and liver, respectively. The cause of death in these birds was trauma that resulted from colliding with hard objects when flying under the influence of ethanol.

Keywords

Bombycilla cedrorum Cedar Waxwing Ethanol Schinus terebinthifolius Toxicosis 

Zusammenfassung

Ethanol-Vergiftung beim Zedernseidenschwanz (Bombycilla cedrorum)

Gruppen von Zedernseidenschwänzen wurden nach Zusammenstößen mit festen Objekten wie Panoramafenstern, Plexiglas und Zäunen tot aufgefunden. Die Untersuchung der Körper ergab, dass sich die Vögel an überreifen Beeren des brasilianischen Pfefferbaums (Schinus terebinthifolius) überfressen hatten und aufgrund von Rissen im Leberparenchyms starke Blutungen im Bereich des Brustmuskels und der Leibeshöhle aufwiesen. Die Gewebe-Mikroskopie zeigte keine tiefer gehenden Ursachen; aber im Verdauungstrakt wie auch in der Leber konnte Ethanol in Konzentrationen von 260  bis 1,000 ppm nachgewiesen werden. Die Todesursache war bei diesen Vögeln ein Trauma, das sie höchstwahrscheinlich als Ursache von Zusammenstößen mit harten Gegenständen unter einer Ethanolvergiftung davontrugen.

References

  1. Avery ML, Goocher KJ, Cone MA (1993) Handling efficiency and berry size preferences of cedar waxwings. Wilson Bull 105(4):604–611Google Scholar
  2. Bashir M, Javed MT (2005) Effects of ethanol on brain and pancreas weights, serum sodium and potassium, and hematological parameters in quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica). Avian Pathol 34(2):96–100PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, University of Florida (2010) Brazilian pepper-tree Schinus terebinthifolius non-native to Florida. http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/node/
  4. Cornell University Lab of Ornithology (2011) Cedar waxwing. All about birds. www.birds.cornell
  5. del Hoyo J, Elliott A, Christie DA (2005) Family Bombycillidae (waxwings). In: del Hoyo J, Elliott A, Christie DA (eds) Handbook of the birds of the World, vol 10., Cuckoo-shrikes to thrushes. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain, pp 304–3018Google Scholar
  6. Eriksson K, Nummi H (1983) Alcohol accumulation from ingested berries and alcohol metabolism in passerine birds. Ornis Fenn 60:2–9Google Scholar
  7. Fitzgerald SD, Sullivan JM, Everson RJ (1990) Case report—suspected ethanol toxicosis in two wild cedar waxwings. Avian Dis 34:488–490PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Levey DJ (2004) The Evolutionary ecology of ethanol production and alcoholism. Symposium in Vino Veritas: The comparative biology of alcohol consumption. Integr Comp Biol 44:284–289PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Levey DJ, Duke GE (1992) How do frugivores process Fruit? Gastrointestinal transit and glucose absorption in cedar waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum). Auk 109(4):230–722Google Scholar
  10. MacDonald G, Sellers B, Langeland K, Duperron-Bond T, Ketterer-Guest K (2008) Brazilian pepper-tree, Schinus terebinthifolius Google Scholar
  11. Orbach DN, Veselka N, Dazl Y, Lazure L, Fenton MB (2010) Drinking and flying: Does alcohol consumption affect the flight and echolocation performance of phyllostomid bats? PLoS ONE 5(2):e8993. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008993 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Prinzinger R, Hakim GA (1996) Alcohol resorption and alcohol degredation in European starling Strunus vulgaris. J Ornithol 137:319–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Pulliainen E, Helle P, Tunkkari P (1981) Adaptive radiation of the digestive system, heart and wings of Turdus pilaris, Bombycilla garrulus, Sturnus vulgaris, Pyrrhula pyrrhula, Pinicola enucleator and Loxia pytyopsittacus. Ornis Fenn 58:21–28Google Scholar
  14. Sanchez F, Melcón M, Korine C, Pinshow B (2010) Ethanol ingestion affects flight performance and echolocation in Egyptian fruit bats. Behav Process 84:555–558CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Shetty KG, Minnis AM, Rossman AY, Jayachandran K (2011) The Brazilian peppertree seed-borne pathogen, Neofusicoccum batangarum, a potential biocontrol agent. Biol Control 56:91–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Stephen LJ, Walley WJ (2000) Alcohol intoxication contributing to mortality in Bohemian waxwings and a pine grosbeak. Blue Jay 58(1):33–35Google Scholar
  17. Töpfer T (2010) Suspected road salt poisoning in Bohemian waxwings Bombycilla garrulus (Aves: Passeriformes: Bombycillidae). Vertebr Zool 60(2):171–174Google Scholar
  18. USGS National Wildlife Health Center (2010) Ethanol toxicosis and subsequent trauma in cedar waxwings (Texas). Quarterly Wildlife Mortality Report April 2010 to June 2010. http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/publications/quarterly_reports/
  19. Wiens F, Zitzmann A, Lachance MA, Yegles M, Pragst F, Wurst FM, von Holst D, Guan SL, Spanagel R (2008) Chronic intake of fermented floral nectar by wild treeshrews. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105(30):10326–10431CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Witmer MC (1996) Annual diet of cedar waxwings based on U.S. Biological Survey Records (1885–1950) compared to diet of American robins: contrasts in dietary patterns and natural history. Auk 113:414–430Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hailu Kinde
    • 1
  • Eileen Foate
    • 3
  • Emily Beeler
    • 4
  • Fransisco Uzal
    • 1
  • Janet Moore
    • 1
  • Robert Poppenga
    • 2
  1. 1.California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory SystemCAHFS-San Bernardino Branch LaboratorySan BernardinoUSA
  2. 2.California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System, CAHFS-Davis LaboratoryUniversity of California Davis, School of Veterinary MedicineDavisUSA
  3. 3.Western University of Health Sciences, College of Veterinary MedicinePomonaUSA
  4. 4.Veterinary Public Health and Rabies Control Program Los Angeles CountyDepartment of Public HealthDowneyUSA

Personalised recommendations