Patches' Pieces, Wildlife

Around the Pond

New on the game cam this week is a badger.  The badger tends to be transitory with few Columbia grounds squirrels residing in the field to become dinner. The geese are being geese. The goslings are growing and hiking along the pond’s edge.  The turkeys are being camera shy.  The deer look like they need a good combing.-Patches

Community, Patches' Pieces, Wildlife

The Not So Perfect Game Camera, a Surprise

An opportunity to capture pictures of scavengers on a carcass  presented itself. I placed two cameras overlooking the carcass.  I had hoped the bears would find this substantial food source. If not, maybe I would have pictures of coyotes or foxes. I had 65 videos, some as long as 4 minutes of ravens, a lot of ravens. It is gruesome and repetitive to watch ravens feast on a carcass. Finally, the eagles show up.

It is still gruesome to watch eagles on a carcass.  But on the video, there was a surprise.  A brave and reckless raven would tug on the tail feathers of the bald eagle.  The raven was more persistent in harassing the juvenile bald eagle than an adult eagle.  The only reaction from the eagles appeared to be flapping their wings resulting in a temporary scattering of the ravens.

 I also had 7500 photos of ravens and eagles to review. Not one picture clearly shows a raven tugging on the tail feathers of an eagle. Game cam videos do provide glimpses of animal behavior hard to capture on a still camera.  The down side, video uses your batteries and SD cards quickly. Both accessories need to be replaced often.


Patches' Pieces, Wildlife

The not so perfect game camera, part 3

Although I am still looking for the perfect game camera, I do have some favorites.  I like my Cabela’s brand cameras.  Cabela’s brand cameras are not inexpensive.    Be sure to look at the reviews online before contemplating a purchase of a new model. I have early versions of the camera. Cabela’s cameras are easy to program. The cameras are easy to operate. Batteries last and are easy to change.  In my opinion, most important Cabela’s brand cameras have a good depth of field.  Close and far objects are in sharp focus.  The cameras do not hold up well when the deer play soccer with the cameras.  My last purchased Cabela’s camera lost part of its programming only a couple months after purchase.  For the premium price, it should have been reliable and included the metal camera mount. The deer did not play soccer with this particular camera so that was not the reason for the malfunction.

Deer in velvet. The camera was on a tripod, just a lucky placement of the camera
This is just how a camera is broken. Note how much of the photo is actually in sharp focus.

My other favorite brand of camera is by Moultrie. This camera was not easy to program. Setting or turning on the camera is not intuitive. The programming in this camera allowed timed photos every 5 minutes or as far apart as 60 minutes.  I used the timer function to scan the background surrounding a trail.  I wanted to know what was in the woods that was not triggering the motion sensor.  I found a bear with 2 cubs in the background. I also found a deer surprised by a mountain lion a few minutes after I’d set the camera.  I got a series of blurry photos with only a startled deer and a long tail in focus. I also used the timer function to take pictures of the house looking for the picture with the best background clouds. The Moultrie camera has a good depth of field. The deer did play soccer with this camera and caused the programming to malfunction.

Bald Eagle. we placed the camera where we sure something would step in front of the camera. This was one of about 3000 pictures.

The best wildlife pictures depend on location of the camera.  I looked at one blogger who had his camera set on a log crossing a stream where wildlife crossed the log year round.  The blogger compiled videos of the wildlife crossing the log.  The variety was impressive.  A water supply with signs of wildlife use is a good place for a camera.

For certain types of wildlife, a camera placed on a found carcass will yield interesting pictures.

Mountain Lion over his deer kill.
We happened upon the deer cached in the woods and placed a camera pointed at the carcass.

Frequently, game cameras include a strap for a mount. The strap has a limited outdoor life. The length of the strap limits the size/circumference of tree to where the camera can be mounted. I have found bungee cords to be helpful in mounting cameras to trees and overcoming the limitations of straps. Metal camera mounts that attach to trees are good for semi permanent locations. The metal mounts are screwed into the tree.   But trees aren’t always conveniently located to where you’d like to place the camera.  

This is where a tripod comes in.  The main disadvantage of a tripod is that deer run over the camera and the camera may break. But cameras on tripods place strategically can yield some interesting wildlife pictures.       

Sandhill Cranes hunting in the field, taken with a camera on a tripod. The camera was placed where we’d seen cranes earlier in the week.
Sandhill Cranes in flight, taken with a camera on a tripod, a lucky placement of the camera