Camera trap project

You may know that I am a bird photographer as well as bird obsessed person in short a bird nerd. While wandering the woods looking for birds I come across quite a lot of trails and tracks of other animals. I recently started a little camera trap project to learn about the wildlife in our forests. Please let me know whether you like it as much as I do. Depending on the camera trap’s success, I will frequently be sharing footage of my forest friends.

what is a camera trap

A camera trap is a device that is triggered by motion in its vicinity. I have never used any of those before. However, as said above, I come across tracks and trails but hardly see the animal leaving them. Having a lot of snow as we speak, it has become quite a nice and peaceful thing to start learning on how to find and interpret the trails. This is where the camera trap comes into play as it gives me vision when I am not there. I am very fancy about my new camera trap project.

Finding trails and tracks 

Finding trails and tracks of animals is an extremely peaceful and meditating activity. It requires a lot of time wandering the forests and paying attention to every small detail. A few of those signs may be broken branches, trail formations, carcasses as well as tracks. As a birder, I used to walk the woods looking upwards. This new passion of mine makes me start looking at the forest with a fresh pair of eyes.

Being able to read tracks

Being able to read tracks is at least for me quite a challenge. We have dogs, as well as wolves in the forest, and those tracks, look quite similar. Probably not for an expert but I am still learning, so I often would take a picture and share it with one of my friends who is quite experienced in this.

I was super excited when I found on beautiful but cold Sunday morning those wolf tracks. Those ones are quite easy to be determined. Wolf tracks have a bit of a diamond shape, I find. Also, their two front toes seem to be further away from the rest of the foot as you would see it in a large dog track.

Below tracks were very easy to be identified as well. Firstly, the shape of the track matches a wolf track and secondly, the kill speaks for itself. This is a roe deer carcass.

Not far away from the above wolf tracks, I came across those badger trails.

Where to put a camera trap

I realized that finding a good place where to put the camera trap is quite a challenge. Finding the tracks of an animal of course helps but it all depends a bit on the species. Foxes and badgers live in dens and therefore placing a camera close to a hole will increase the chances of getting a camera trap footage. Wolves on the other hand, and I am not an expert and still are learning, may wander a lot of km a night. So I guess to find a good place for a camera trap all depends on observations, instincts, and luck. Once I learn better about a good placement I will be sharing some tips and tricks.

my first camera trap footage

When I first mounted the camera about three weeks ago I have been checking it almost daily. I didn’t know how long the battery will last. Also how well would it work during the night? Impatiently, I found myself changing its position almost every other day. 

I kind of felt that that’s probably not a good practice. So instead of constantly switching its place, I really thought through all my forest recent walks. I came up with a spot in my head where I have been seeing a lot of different tracks. I picked the spot end of January and just let it sit for a while. When temperatures dropped to -10° I checked it to see if the batteries were still alive.

I was so excited. Not only was the device be able to record the first camera trap footage but also it captured quite a rare species down here in South-Eastern Poland. Hopefully, you enjoy my first camera trap footage as much as I do.

Recorded species, in the order of appearance

  • hare (Lepus europaeus)
  • red fox (Vulpes vulpes)
  • wild cat (Felis silvestri) (I am not 100% sure though)
  • Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx)
    • really? wow! I knew we have lynx here but this is like 20 minutes away from our house!!
  • wild cat (Felis silvestri) (I am not 100% sure though)
  • wild boar (Sus scrofa)
  • red fox (Vulpes vulpes)
  • European badger (Meles meles)
    • too fast for the camera exposure, probably on the way to the restroom

Final word

This new camera trap project is just amazing. I have been always walking very consciously through the woods but this project is just giving me a different perspective. Today, I found another great spot so I will order a few more of those camera traps. Stay tuned!

Let me know your thoughts

I hope this article was helpful for you. If there is anything you are looking for, please let me know and I try to find examples to discuss.

Love and protect wildlife

Animals are awesome and need our protection. Please don’t hurt, kill or eat animals.

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