Monday, July 25, 2011

Camera trapping

Since earlier this spring, we have been utilizing a set of motion-sensing cameras commonly referred to as "game cameras".  The cameras are a very useful tool to capture images of wildlife that are typically difficult to observe for any number of reasons.  By placing a camera in a location that wildlife are likely to frequent, we've been able to capture hundreds of images of a variety of animals at all hours of the day.  The use of these cameras around the Sanctuary has been an enlightening and exciting project.

Deer posing nicely for the camera

Wild Turkey captured moving into frame

Raccoon sniffing around a well-used scent post
 During the month of April, the cameras were deployed in four separate areas of the property to capture photos of the Sanctuary's deer population.  From March 31 to May 13, we captured nearly 500 photos of various wildlife species, though the vast majority of the images contained deer.  This collection of photos will be used to give us an idea of the relative abundance of deer on the property, and a means of evaluating the success (or failure) of our deer management efforts.  We also have photographic evidence of other interesting creatures like coyote, fox, and bobcat.


I'm still in the process of carefully documenting each of the approximately 500 images from the deer survey.  While recording the contents of each image into a database file, I've come to realize that each photo must be examined very carefully.  Sometimes a photo that looks "blank" actually has one or more animals hidden in plain sight.  Here's a good example (click photos for larger images):

So how many deer do you see in the photo?  Look closely!  The answer is posted below.

And what about this photo?  Do you recognize the animal in the lower center of the frame?  Scroll down to see the answer revealed.

And here's one more.  This was a really difficult one for me to figure out, so don't be ashamed if you can't locate the animal in this photo.  It's left of center.  What is it?  The answer is revealed below.

We're currently using the cameras in hopes of capturing more photos of the bobcats and coyotes that live on or move through the Sanctuary.  In September we'll re-deploy the cameras for a late summer survey of the deer population.  We'll share more photos as they become available.

-Adam Zorn, Naturalist

Photo answers (click photo for a larger image):

4 Deer in this photo!  Did you see them all?

Grey Squirrel

Pileated Woodpecker.  If you got it right, you deserve a pat on the back!