Avian exposure to organophosphorus and carbamate pesticides on a coastal South Carolina golf course

Authors

  • Thomas R. Rainwater,

    1. Department of Environmental Toxicology and The Institute of Wildlife and Environmental Toxicology (TIWET), Clemson University, P.O. Box 709, Pendleton, South Carolina 29670
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  • Vincent A. Leopold,

    1. Department of Environmental Toxicology and The Institute of Wildlife and Environmental Toxicology (TIWET), Clemson University, P.O. Box 709, Pendleton, South Carolina 29670
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  • Michael J. Hooper,

    1. Department of Environmental Toxicology and The Institute of Wildlife and Environmental Toxicology (TIWET), Clemson University, P.O. Box 709, Pendleton, South Carolina 29670
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  • Ronald J. Kendall

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Environmental Toxicology and The Institute of Wildlife and Environmental Toxicology (TIWET), Clemson University, P.O. Box 709, Pendleton, South Carolina 29670
    • Department of Environmental Toxicology and The Institute of Wildlife and Environmental Toxicology (TIWET), Clemson University, P.O. Box 709, Pendleton, South Carolina 29670
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Abstract

A field study was conducted to examine avian exposure to organophosphorus (OP) and carbamate (CA) pesticides applied to turf on a coastal South Carolina golf course. The number, distribution, and activity of birds on turfgrass were monitored from May 25 to August 27, 1993. Over 1,600 birds representing 23 species were counted on turfgrass during designated monitoring sessions and incidental observations. Most birds were observed during morning hours, on fairways, and on the back nine holes of the course. Foraging was the predominant behavior observed. Blood samples and footwashes were collected from red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus), common grackles (Quiscalus quiscula), and boat-tailed grackles (Quiscalus major) for measurement of plasma cholinesterase (ChE) activity and chemical residues, respectively. Reactivation of plasma ChE in 22 blood samples suggested CA exposure, but no overt signs of anti-ChE poisoning were observed in birds sampled. However, an incapacitated laughing gull discovered after an application of the CA bendiocarb (3.36 kg/ha) exhibited 87% depression of plasma ChE and displayed symptoms consistent with OP/CA intoxication. Pesticide exposure was confirmed by recovery of 50.33 μg bendiocarb in the footwash. Mole crickets (Scapteriscus spp.) that surfaced following the same chemical application contained bendiocarb residues and may have been ingested by foraging birds. Results of this study suggest a potential for avian exposure to OP and CA pesticides on the golf course, but few actual exposures and acute effects were observed.

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