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Deceased: Shot illegally in late May 2013

carl the curlew standing in a brown field of cheat grass
Proud dad ‘Carl’, on the day his chicks hatched. The last photo taken of him before he died. Photo by Liz Urban.

Alpha Flag Code: CA
Capture date:5-6-13
Sex: Male
Location: The Long-billed Curlew Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) between Middleton and Emmett Idaho.
Namesake: Carl died before we could give him a real name, however the crew gave him the nickname “Carl” to match his alpha flag code, “CA”.

After Memorial Day 2013 weekend, Jay became suspicious that something might be wrong with one of our transmitters since it was not transmitting/displaying normally. On June 2nd a team led by Liz went out and was able to recover the transmitter but our fears were confirmed – unfortunately, we found that he was dead. Because of the delay in finding his remains, we did not find an intact body, and cannot determine how he died.

the remains of carl the curlew who was shot by poachers

Based on our experience in 2013 and earlier, our biggest cause for concern at the start of this project was that a transmittered bird would be shot. After all, we see people out shooting – mostly ground squirrels or targets – every day at the study site and the day we trapped this male there was a recently-killed Swainson’s Hawk 150m from the curlew nest. Carl was the first of many curlews shot in our transmitter study.

On her most recent visit to check the status of the birds over the Memorial Day 2013 weekend, Liz had seen numerous people shooting within 150m of where the pair was nesting and had recently hatched their chicks.

Curlews become very vocal and defensive, thus easily visible, when they are trying to protect their chicks. We certainly cannot say that CA was shot, but whether shooting was at issue in this particular case, it remains a real risk for these curlews. Read the full blog post here.

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