Winter study with 32 bird carcasses, followed by summer study with 60 birds and 60 rat carcasses.
Carcass Checks Winter 4 Month Schedule
Summer study is following the same pattern of checks at 10, 20, 45, 90, and 130 days after deployment.
Decay of a Red-crested Cardinal that represents the carcasses that stayed slightly more preserved.
Average body condition decreased rapidly throughout the 20 days after deployment. Then remained around a body condition of 1 on average.
Initial body condition, weight, species, and relative environment had no significant effect on body condition after 4 months.
10 Days- 80% (24/30) bird carcasses remained distinct detections.
20 days- the same 24 of 30 carcasses were considered a distinct detection.
45 days- 73% of carcasses (22 of 30) remained distinct detections
90 days- 67% of carcasses (20 of 30) remained distinct detections
130 days- 63% of carcasses (19 of 30) remained distinct detections
Not all carcasses were removed by scavengers, some became not detectable because of environmental factors.
Partial scavenging of bird carcasses by rodents adds difficulty to finding carcass, but does not ensure carcass will be missing.
The trapping sites not protected from ungulates are more likely to have carcasses scavenged.
Thank you to Bill Bukoski with USDA APHIS for supplying the bird carcasses for the winter and summer study.
Thank you to Dr. Aaron Sheils with USDA APHIS for supplying the rat carcasses and the cameras and camera supplies used during the summer study.
Thank you to Dr. Lisa "Cali" Crampton and Tyler Winter for help in designing the study and continuing logistics.
Thank you to the awesome field crew that checked these carcasses repeatedly, viewed photos, and entered data, and always offered valuable insight. Justin, Erica, Lauren, Noah, Katie, Laura, Autumn, I appreciate you all.
Thanks to DOFAW and PCSU.