Metal Concentrations in Eurasian Eagle Owl Pellets as a Function of Reproductive Variables in Korea
Eight metals were analyzed in the pellet of Eurasian eagle owls (Bubo bubo) breeding in Korea: Paju, Ganghwa, Gimpo, and Sihwa, Gyeonggi-do (N = 15, respectively). Except for cadmium (Cd), concentrations of all metals differed among sites (ANOVA, p < 0.001); Sihwa had relatively higher metal concentrations compared with other sites. Clutch size did not differ among the four sites. However, Sihwa had the greatest nesting success and number of fledglings (per hatchlings and laid egg) and highest mean weight of diet. Lead concentrations in the pellets were generally lower than the excrements of various birds worldwide. We suggest that all metal concentrations in pellets do not negatively affect the reproduction of Eurasian eagle owls, and food supply at Sihwa seems likely more important to breeding success than metal contamination.
The authors thank the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration, Ganghwa District, Gimpo City, Ansan City, Paju City, and Hwaseong City for permission to conduct research (permit number KCHA Natural Heritage Division-461). The authors also thank Thomas W. Custer (USGS) for a critical reading and comments of the manuscript.
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