Utilizing domestic birds as biomonitors may provide vital information regarding the risk to migratory waterfowl posed by contaminated wetlands. Data collected from domestic waterfowl might also allow scientists to address the public health implications of feral waterfowl consumption by humans. In this study, the white Pekin duck (Anas platyrhynchos) was evaluated as an indicator of environmental contamination in the lower Great Lakes during 1986. These birds rapidly accumulated organochlorine and heavy metal contaminants, sometimes to high levels. Intersite differences in their contaminant burdens reflected known geographic differences in contaminant sources. There were, however, some difficulties associated with using white Pekin ducks as biomonitors, most notably their high rate of disappearance after release. This reflected their vulnerability to predation and poaching but at one of the sites, Windermere Basin in Hamilton Harbour, lead poisoning may also have been a factor contributing to their disappearance.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Biomonitors, ducks, Great Lakes, lead, metals, PCBs, pesticides
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0380-1330(94)71147-3
Journal Journal of Great Lakes Research
Chip Weseloh, D.V. (D. V.), Struger, J. (John), & Hebert, C.E. (1994). White Pekin Ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) as Monitors of Organochlorine and Metal Contamination in the Great Lakes. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 20(1), 277–288. doi:10.1016/S0380-1330(94)71147-3