In this study we report avian and mammalian scavengers foraging on migratory bird carcasses in the Sonoran Desert. We used remote cameras to monitor carcasses we found along a power line right-of-way (n = 25). We documented four species scavenging 10 carcasses (kit fox, Vulpes macrotis, n = 4; coyote, Canis latrans, n = 3; common raven, Corvus corax, n = 2, and greater roadrunner, Geococcyx californianus, n = 1) and recorded coyote tracks at three additional carcasses. Neither remote cameras nor tracks indicated the scavenger species of the remaining carcasses. Our data suggest migrant birds might provide an important food source for resident scavengers, particularly in desert habitats where food can be scarce. Our study also supports prior assertions that failure to account for removal of carcasses by scavengers might cause errors in estimates of mortality.
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Vol. 59 • No. 4