Please note: This week’s Naturalist Blog contains somewhat graphic images and video links captured via a trail camera of real animals feeding on a deer carcass. Viewer discretion is advised.

Week of November 6, 2022 – November 12, 2022

staff member Anna Stunkel Environmental Educator

by Anna Stunkel, Environmental Educator

A couple of weeks ago, some of our educators and Trail School participants set up trail cams on a deer carcass that we found near the edge of the woods. We were amazed by the variety of visitors who stopped by for a snack! At least two Red Foxes and a Coyote have been visiting the carcass. These canines are omnivores, feeding on small mammals, birds, fruits, insects, and dead animals such as this one. At least one Red-tailed Hawk has also been making frequent visits, and we’ve noticed increased activity from the hawk soaring around nearby.

The animals who have visited this carcass play a sometimes underappreciated but crucial role as scavengers in our forest ecosystem. By feeding on the remains of dead animals, they clean up the environment and help the process of decomposition to begin. Next time you see some of the animals that our cameras detected, or when you notice another scavenger like Turkey Vultures or crows gliding by, take a moment to thank them for their hard work as nature’s cleanup crew!

To see video footage from our trail cams, take a look at the following links: