Effects of mercury exposure on the reproductive success of treeswallows (Tachycineta bicolor)

Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) Science Article 7

abstract

An experimental tree swallow population wasestablished in the headwaters of the Shenandoah River,Virginia, USA to assess the accumulation and effects ofmercury contamination on birds that eat emergent aquaticinsects. One tributary, the South River, was contaminatedwith mercury before 1950. Reproductive success of swallowsnesting within 50 m of this river was compared to thatof three uncontaminated reference tributaries in 2005 and2006. Female swallows on the contaminated stretch of riverhad significantly elevated blood and feather total mercury.

Rebecka L. Brasso and Daniel A. Cristol, Ecotoxicology (2008) 17:133-141

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