I compared selenium (Se) levels in blood, liver, egg, and diet samples from European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) nesting at Kesterson Reservoir, Merced County, California and the surrounding area. Concentrations were highest in adult and nestling blood (8.3 and 5.5 µg g−1, respectively), nestling liver (7.5 µg g−1), and eggs (4.6 µg g−1) from nest boxes in interior parts of Kesterson compared to those from the perimeter (adult and nestling blood = 4.0 and 1.4 µg g−1, respectively, nestling liver = 4.7 µg g−1, eggs = 2.8 µg g−1) and off-site (nestling blood = 3.8 µg g−1, liver = 4.3 µg g−1, egg = 2.7 µg g−1). No hatching failure or embryo effects were observed. Although I found strong positive relationships in Se levels among tissues and eggs, variability of dietary exposure and differences in depuration rates across tissues confounds prediction of Se concentration. Nevertheless, I found blood Se to be a good indicator of dietary exposure that can be sampled nondestructively.
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Vol. 109 • No. 4