Stable hydrogen isotope analysis as a method to identify illegally trapped songbirds

Newton, J. (2008) Stable hydrogen isotope analysis as a method to identify illegally trapped songbirds. Science and Justice, 48(2), pp. 67-70. (doi:10.1016/j.scijus.2007.09.012)

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Abstract

We measured stable hydrogen isotope ratios in the primary feathers of two subspecies of goldfinches, confiscated by the Police and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) on suspicion that they had been illegally taken from the wild. We found significant differences in the δ2H values of the two subspecies indicating that they were sourced from different geographical regions. Our results correlated with isotopic precipitation maps and with the known distribution of the two subspecies of goldfinch. We believe that this technique could be used by law enforcement agencies to determine the origin of birds in cases where the species or subspecies involved are geographically distinct.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Newton, Dr Jason
Authors: Newton, J.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Science and Justice

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