Feather mercury increases with feeding at higher trophic levels in two species of migrant raptors, Merlin (Falco columbarius) and Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)

Edward Keyel, Matthew Etterson, Gerald Niemi, David Evers, Christopher DeSorbo, Joel Hoffman, John Nichols, Yang Li & Frank Nicoletti
Mercury (Hg) is a toxic heavy metal that, when methylated to form methylmercury (MeHg), bioaccumulates in exposed animals and biomagnifies through food webs. The purpose of this study was to assess Hg concentrations in raptors migrating through the upper Midwestern USA. From 2009-2012, 966 raptors of 11 species were captured at Hawk Ridge, Duluth, MN. Breast feathers were sampled to determine the concentration of total Hg. Mean Hg concentrations ranged from 0.11 – 3.46 μg...
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