Title:Monitoring of heavy metal burden in predatory birds
The aim of this study was to investigate the concentrations of heavy metals such as Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead and Mercury in the feathers of predatory birds including Owl species [Longeared owl (Asio otus), Barn owl (Tyto alba), Tawny owl (Strix aluco), Little owls (Athene noctua)], Buzzard (Buteo buteo), Common kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) and Eurasian sparrow-hawks (Accipiter nisus). The birds were originated from the eastern and northeastern region of Hungary and the samples were collected in the Hortobágyi Madárpark (Bird Hospital Foundation). During the samplings, different data were noted as follows: time and location of finding, gender and birds’ age. Feather samples have been collected as a noninvasive method of sampling and have been shown to be representative of heavy metal burden in the body, with the added benefit of feathers being moulted yearly allowing these samples to represent the exposure of these birds in the previous year. The samples have been analysed using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry to determine the concentration of the heavy metals mentioned previously. The statistical analysis of the measured concentrations was performed using the Software: R version 3.4.2. Wilcoxon rank-sum test was used to compare distributions and Spearman rank-correlation was calculated and tested.