Misfits – Incorrectly Fit Harnesses Led to Turkey Vultures Shedding Their Transmitters!

When a Turkey Vulture’s transmitter is sending signals from the same location hour after hour, it’s an indication that either the bird has died or he/she has rid themselves of the unit. We feared the worst when signals from the transmitters on vultures Amelia, Caeden and Glenn – shown below – weren’t changing locations.

With time we were able to verify that in each case the vultures had removed the units, which were held in place on the back with Teflon ribbon that extends around the front and back of the body at the base of the wings. The yellow arrows point to the transmitters.

Amelia, tagged August 4, 2022. For the story on Amelia’s lost transmitter, see my blog Turkey Vulture Amelia Slips Transmitter, Soars Free!
Glenn, tagged April 30, 2023. For the story on Glenn’s lost transmitter, see Shoalwater DNR Locates Vulture-Shed Transmitter.
Caeden, tagged April 29, 2023. For the story on Caeden’s lost transmitter see Third Turkey Vulture Sheds a Transmitter.

Confirming the transmitter losses was possible because we fit each vulture with a uniqely coded wing-tag along with the transmitter, as the photos show. All were re-sighted in one location, their transmitters signaling from another as my blog posts on each bird indicate.

In hindsight, it appears that we had secured the transmitters too low on the back, which allowed these vultures to reach behind and bite through the Teflon harness. Lesson learned!  

Note: If you would like to see more of my Blog posts on Turkey Vultures, click on Tracking Turkey Vultures below.

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