DDE Residues and Eggshell Changes in Alaskan Falcons and Hawks

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Science  28 May 1971:
Vol. 172, Issue 3986, pp. 955-957
DOI: 10.1126/science.172.3986.955


Eggshell thickness after exposure to DDT was reduced by 21.7 percent in Alaskan tundra peregrines, by 16.8 percent in taiga peregrines, by 7.5 percent in Aleutian peregrines, by 3.3 percent in rough-legged hawks, and not at all in gyrfalcons. Tundra peregrine eggs contain an average of 889 parts of DDE per million (lipid basis); taiga peregrine eggs contain 673 parts per million; Aleutian peregrine eggs contain 167 parts per million; rough-legged hawk eggs contain 22.5 parts per million; and gyrfalcon eggs contain 3.88 parts per million. These changes in eggshell thickness and the pesticide residues reflect different degrees of exposure to contamination. There is a highly significant negative correlation between shell thickness and DDE content in peregrine eggs. Tundra and taiga peregrines have fledged progressively fewer young each year since 1966.