After years of examining footprints in the snow, listening to sounds in the night, and catching fleeting glimpses, we at the Abbey finally got our act together and put out our game camera to get actual pictures of all the other creatures who live here with us. The game camera is one of the best inventions since sliced bread. Using motion sensing technology and an infrared light, this solid, waterproof camera can be set up in the woods and programmed to take still or moving pictures, which are date and time stamped (you can even record the phase of the moon!) and recorded on an SD card. When you’re ready to view the pictures, you pop out the SD card and upload them onto a computer and don’t have to move the camera. They have been absolutely huge in wildlife research because they are non-intrusive and help avoid — to a certain extent — the Heisenberg principle. For wildlife lovers like the Abbey denizens, it’s a great way to see what everyone is getting up to out there where we can’t see.
Our first two nights yielded some hilarious photos. First, a herd of deer demanded to know what on earth this thing was that had been left on the side of their road:
We also got a pretty neat action shot of the deer:
Finally, we made the night of a raccoon who ate the liver we had left out in the hopes of enticing one of the numerous coyotes to the camera:
(Note the white dots on the ground in front of the raccoon: they are freeze-dried raw duck cat food that Cookies and Linus refused to touch. The raccoon didn’t touch them either. That must be some pretty unappetizing cat food if even a raccoon won’t eat it.)
I absolutely love the shot of the deer checking out the camera. Deer have a reputation for being sort of stupid but they are actually quite intelligent and curious. The woods are their home and they know every inch of it, so something new needs to be inspected, for safety’s sake at the very least. It’s also great to have the observed become the observers. (The raccoon was too excited about the liver to notice the camera or care, which is probably a good thing since those dexterous little hands could easily dismantle it if the raccoon were so inclined.)
Since it is going to be arctically cold here the next few days we will have to bring the camera in for a bit, but we’ll see what we get when we move it to a new position next week. Stay tuned!