Thirteen adult urban rock doves (Columba livia), 12 captured alive and one found dead, were studied from the Baltimore zoo. The mean concentration of lead in the blood for the 12 live birds was 184.5 ± 531.2 (range 10.5−1,870 μg/dl). Three of the 13 birds with high measured blood and tissue lead concentrations were found at necropsy with lead shot pellets in their gizzards. Correlations were not found between concentrations of lead in the blood and body weight or hematocrit. Conversely, high correlations were noted between concentrations of lead in the blood and measured liver and kidney concentrations (r = 0.946, P < 0.01; r = 0.993, P < 0.01, respectively). Numbers of intranuclear acid-fast inclusions per 10 consecutive fields (100× oil immersion lens) correlated well with measured kidney lead concentrations (r = 0.990, P < 0.001).
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Vol. 23 • No. 2