Of nearly 20 birds we’ve outfitted with transmitters on public lands in SW Idaho in recent years, at least 7 have been shot – a very unsustainable rate of (illegal) human-caused adult mortality for a long-lived species. Read more about this important conservation issue in Audubon Magazine.
Although the transmitters are solar-powered, their internal battery eventually wears out. After 3 to 4 years, we remove the transmitters from each individual and send the birds on their way
Sometimes our transmitters stop sending signals. This could be due to a very old transmitter with a worn out battery, a deceased bird that suddenly stopped transmitting without sending out a mortality signal first, or from some other kind of malfunction.
Sometimes our curlews die of natural causes (usually from being eaten by a predator). This information gives us important data on expected mortality rates of adult curlews, and it allows us to compare natural mortality rates to the unnatural adult mortality rates caused by illegal shooting.