During the summer of 1949 studies were conducted at Princeton, New Jersey, to determine the effects on wildlife of DDT used in the control of Dutch elm disease. Direct mortality was determined by intensive search for dead birds after spraying. Twenty-six songbirds, one bat, and one gray squirrel were found. Of 11 dead birds from a study area of approximately 20 acres only one was an adult. Songbird populations were determined by censuses before and after spraying on a study area and on a similar unsprayed check area. The number of all breeding birds showed a 19.6 percent decrease on both the study and check areas during the week immediately following spraying. About two weeks after spraying the population in the treated area began to increase and within another week was back to prespray level. When only those species common to both sprayed and unsprayed areas are considered a population decline of 22 percent was measured in the sprayed area while the check area showed a 6 percent increase in numbers over the same period. Nestling mortality was studied in both areas. Among 18 young found on the study area during and following spraying 8 (44%) survived. Death of two broods of catbirds occurred four days after spraying. Of 21 young found on the check area 15 (71%) survived.
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Effects on wildlife of DDT used for control of Dutch elm disease