Shot Ingestion by Dabbling Ducks Wintering in Coastal South Carolina

We determined the incidence of lead, steel, and total shot ingestion in 4 species of dabbling ducks on a major wintering area of the Atlantic Flyway. Gizzards (N = 1,771) were collected from hunter-harvested mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) , northern pintails (A. acuta), blue-winged teal (A. discors), and American greenwinged teal (A. crecca) during the 1985-86,1986-87, and 1987-88 waterfowl hunting seasons on the Santee River Estuary (SRE), South Carolina. Total shot ingestion rates were high in northern pintails (15.9%) and mallards (8.4%), and low in American green-winged teal (1.3%) and blue-winged teal (0.8%). Because gizzard analysis can underestimate the extent of lead shot exposure in waterfowl, the SRE is implicated as a serious contributor to lead shot ingestion by wintering northern pintails and mallards.

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