Response of vertebrate scavengers to power line and road rights-of-way and its implications for bird fatality estimates

Joana Bernardino, Regina Bispo, Ricardo C. Martins, Sara Maria Santos, Francisco Moreira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Linear infrastructures, such as power lines and roads, are an important source of bird mortality. However, little is known on the potential effect of these infrastructures on local scavenger guilds, their foraging activity and the resulting bird carcass removal patterns. This is an important source of bias in studies aiming to quantify bird fatalities due to linear infrastructures. We used camera-traps to record scavenger identity and persistence patterns of bird carcasses placed close to linear infrastructure and nearby controls in two Mediterranean agricultural regions. We found that linear infrastructure influence on scavenger identity varied depending on the region. Contrary to expectations, linear infrastructure presence had either none or a positive effect on carcass persistence, meaning that carcasses placed within power line or road rights-of-way were not removed faster than the ones placed in controls. We conclude that linear infrastructure effect on vertebrate scavenging patterns is likely to be region-specific, and that reliable correction factors for carcass removal-bias in bird fatality estimates require site-specific experiments to characterize local scavenging processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15014
JournalScientific Reports
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

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