North American Crane Working Group


Date of this Version


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Fannin, Timothy E. "Contaminant Residues in Sandhill Cranes Killed Upon Striking Powerlines in Central Nebraska.", In: Stahlecker D. W., ed. 1992. Proceedings of the Sixth North American Crane Workshop, Oct. 3-5, 1991, Regina, Sask. (Grand Island, NE.: North American Crane Working Group, 1992), 166-70.


Conference co-sponsored by the Canadian Wildlife Service, Saskatchewan Parks and Renewable Resources Department, and the Whooping Crane Conservation Association, Canadian Council. Proceedings used by permission of the North American Crane Working Group.


In 1989 and 1990, 58 sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) were collected along the central Platte River in Nebraska during a study of mortality caused by powerline impact. Brains were assayed for acetylcholinesterase activity; gut contents were analyzed for residues of 25 organophosphate and 6 carbamate compounds; and livers were analyzed for 20 inorganics (including lead, mercury, and boron) and 22 organochlorine chemicals. Brain acetylcholinesterase activities appeared to be within normal ranges, and no measurable organophosphate or carbamate residues were found in the gut contents of 5 birds with the lowest brain enzyme activities. Heptachlor epoxide, oxychlordane. p,p' -DDE, and hexachlorobenzene were detected in livers. Inorganics were generally below concern levels and were similar to levels found in a previous study of greater sandhill cranes in the Rocky Mountain population. Applications of these data to other investigations of contaminants in sandhill cranes are also discussed.