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World’s Most Toxic Bird Is Found In Vancouver

Cooper's Hawk

A bird, called Cooper’s hawk, found near Vancouver is apparently the most toxic wild bird ever recorded (according to news outlet CityLab).

A study published in Science of the Total Environment describes how scientists recorded high levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers, at nearly 200 parts per million in the captured specimen. This has led the captured bird to be be dubbed ‘the dirtiest bird in the world’. A little unfair, especially when the source of the chemical contamination comes from human-made discarded products.

These chemicals (most of them are illegal in the United States and Canada) are used as flame retardants across a range of products, including furniture, automobiles, and computers.

Although the chemicals are not widely used, they continue to accumulate and concentrate in landfills. It is thought that birds nesting nearby, as well as birds that prey on other birds, can become exposed to the chemicals. The Cooper’s hawk is one of the types of birds known to congregate around landfill sites.

Cooper’s hawks are common woodland hawks and superb flyers. Cooper’s hawks have short rounded wings with with long, dark bands, round-ended at the tip.

About the author

Tim Sandle

Dr. Tim Sandle is a chartered biologist and holds a first class honours degree in Applied Biology; a Masters degree in education; and has a doctorate from Keele University.