Back

Document Title:

Assessment of Mercury in Maine's Interior Bald Eagle Population

AUTHOR(S):
Steven E. Mierzykowski David Evers Charles S. Todd Christopher DeSorbo William Hanson


REPORT NUMBER:
FY07-MEFO-3-EC
PAGES:
1 - 42

PUBLICATION DATE: March 2009

ABSTRACT:
Mercury pollution is prevalent in the northeastern U.S. due to a combination of high rates of atmospheric deposition from Midwest sources and an abundance of habitats in the Northeast that effectively produce methylmercury from mercury inputs. Ongoing research has documented elevated mercury levels in a variety of aquatic and terrestrial fish and wildlife in Maine. High mercury burdens have been linked to negative effects on behavior, physiology, and fledging success in birds. In this study, mercury exposure and the potential for reproductive impacts in freshwater-feeding bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) in Maine were investigated. Between 2001 and 2006 (primarily 2004-2006), eaglet blood and shed adult feathers were collected from freshwater-based bald eagle nest territories throughout Maine. Tissues were analyzed for mercury to obtain insights on short-term and chronic exposure in eaglet and adult age classes, respectively. Nonviable and abandoned eggs were also collected and analyzed for mercury. Mercury patterns between habitats and among watersheds, relationships between mercury exposure and eagle productivity were evaluated. Temporal mercury trends were determined by comparing results in the present study to data collected in a previous U.S. Fish and Wildlife sponsored study (Welch 1994). Region 5 ID: 1130-5F40 DEQ ID: 200550001

PUBLISHED BY:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

DOCUMENT LINK:
http://www.fws.gov/northeast/mainecontaminants/pdf/5F40_Final_Report.pdf, 600 KB

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Maine Contaminants Program

Last updated: February 13, 2013