Temporal trends of mercury (Hg) in West Greenland gyrfalcons, peregrine falcons, and white-tailed eagles were determined over 150 years from 1851 to 2003. Hg was measured in the fifth primary feather. Results showed that Hg increased in the order gyrfalcon (lowest)<peregrine falcon (intermediate) < white-tailed eagle (highest). All species showed significant age accumulations, which were taken into account in the temporal trend analysis. Of eight time trend analyses (three species and three age groups of which one was missing), seven showed an increase in primary feather concentrations. Of these, four were significant at the 5% level, two were close to being significant, and one was not significant. The linear regressions of which three out of four showed significant increases were for juvenile and immature gyrfalcon and juvenile peregrine falcon, which covered only periods prior to 1960, owing to limited data from the last half-century. The two sample comparisons of Hg 10-year medians for adult peregrine falcons and juvenile and adult white-tailed eagles indicated a continued increase during recent decades. However, low levels of Hg in a few recent collections among gyrfalcons and peregrines could indicate a change in the increasing trend.
Environmental Science and Technology (washington), 2006, Vol 40, Issue 19, p. 5911-5916