Persistent environmental pollutants in eggs of aplomado falcons from Northern Chihuahua, Mexico, and south Texas, USA.
Additional Document Info
The northern aplomado falcon (Falco femoralis septentrionalis) disappeared from south Texas in the 1940s. Due to great success in the release of captive-reared aplomado falcons in south Texas, there are currently more than 40 established nesting pairs in the region. Addled eggs from aplomado falcons nesting in northern Chihuahua and south Texas were analyzed to determine organochlorine (OC) and inorganic element contaminant burdens and their potential association with egg failures and effects on reproduction. Among the OCs, DDE [1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethylene] was present at the highest concentrations (range 262-21487 ng/g wet weight) followed by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs, range 88-3274 ng/g ww). DDE was greater (P=0.03) in eggs from El Sueco (Chihuahua, Mexico) than in those from Matagorda Island (Texas, USA). DDE concentrations in eggs of aplomado falcons from El Sueco were elevated; however, reproductive success in the two Chihuahuan populations did not seem to be affected by DDE. DDE and metals in potential avian prey of the aplomado falcon from Matagorda Island were very low and below levels in the diet at which some negative effects might be expected. Except for mercury (Hg), metal concentrations in eggs were fairly low and were not different among locations in Chihuahua and south Texas. Hg was somewhat elevated and was greater (P<0.001) in Texas than in the Chihuahua locations. Periodic monitoring of Hg concentrations in addled eggs of aplomado falcons in south Texas is recommended to continue evaluating potential negative effects on their recovery.