Coastal Raptors is collaborating with Dr. Da Chen, currently a toxicologist at Jinan University in Guangzhou, China. The collaboration started in 2013, when Coastal Raptors sent Da blood plasma samples from six Peregrine Falcons captured that year. Da analyzed the samples for pesticides (DDT and its breakdown products, primarily DDE), PCBs, and fire retardants. While DDT and PCB use has been banned in the US, these chemicals still persist in the environment. Fire retardants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, have been added to products such as furniture, electronics and carpeting to reduce the risk of fire-related injuries. PBDEs have emerged as a contaminant threat in recent years.


Despite having been trapped and blood sampled on Washington’s outer coast far from population centers, contaminant levels in some of the peregrines tested to date have been surprisingly high. A male peregrine we banded in 2007 with visual identification band code W/Z is one of those birds. W/Z is a peregrine that many of us involved with Coastal Raptors field work observed, handled and photographed over the years.

He had the highest PCB levels, highest DDE levels, and second highest PBDE levels of the six tested.

 

Coastal Raptors has provided Da with more than 100 additional samples. Collected between 2000 and 2016, these samples provide an important record of contaminant exposure in Peregrine Falcons trapped on the Washington coast over nearly two decades.

The collaboration will continue with Da at Jinan University. To that end, in 2018 Da invited Dan to participate in the 4th International Conference on Environmental Pollution and Health in Tianjin, China.