During 2 years of radiotelemetry research on chukars (Alectoris chukar) in western Utah, USA, we found 28% of retrieved radios (n = 78) in rubbish nests of woodrats (Neotoma spp.). Such movement and disturbance of carcasses and radios by woodrats and other species has implications for radiotelemetry studies. We evaluated spatio-temporal movement of 51 radiocollars attached to chukar carcasses in western Utah. Most (80%) carcasses were scavenged within one week and by the end of 3 weeks 25 (50%) had been retrieved from woodrat middens. Scavenging activity can both obscure important clues needed to identify causes of mortality and bias telemetry studies by delaying onset of mortality signals.
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Vol. 72 • No. 5