Wildlife Cameras also known as Trail Cameras can open a fascinating world of rarely seen wildlife. Is someone raiding the lettuce in your garden? Catch them with a wildlife camera.
Even if you don’t live in the country, suburban areas attract surprising amounts of wildlife. New research yielded more than 40,000 photos of carnivores in suburban areas of Raleigh, North Carolina and Washington, D.C. They found bobcats, red foxes, coyotes and gray foxes in suburbia.
Other mammals that were caught in the cameras’ lenses included raccoons and Virginia opossums and striped skunks. They even recorded a black bear in northern Virginia near Washington, D.C. If your area has black bears, you’ll need a metal security box to enclose the camera, like the ones manufactured by CAMLOCKbox available on Amazon.
There is a definite learning curve to this type of photography. For instance do not check your cameras too often because you will leave your scent behind.
Choosing The Location For Wildlife Cameras
Where to place the camera is half the battle.
Water of any kind even a small backyard birdbath is a magnet for birds and mammals. In wilder areas, beaver dams are ideal spots for a camera. These dams become wildlife highways.
Edge habitat where one habitat type meets another is a good location. For example, where the tree line of a forest meets a farm field.
Wild animals like to stay hidden so brush where animals can stay close to cover is a good choice. Stone walls are popular with predators, such as barred owls. Rodents also like to hide in stone walls. A fruit tree with fallen fruit or an oak with its acorns are productive autumn locations, inviting everyone from squirrels to deer, blue jays and turkeys.
In wilder areas, beaver dams are excellent sites to capture wildlife. Beaver dams are like wildlife highways with many species traveling the same path.
As for the best height to position the camera, that depends on the target species. Set it at knee height or below for most wildlife.
Likewise, find a spot without vegetation that sways in the wind. The movement of grasses and ferns can trip a motion detecting shutter. Even a ripple of water can snap a photo. Likewise avoid high human-traffic areas.
Subjects close to the camera are best photographed with a macro lens that shortens focus to within three feet.
Point the camera in a northern direction; south is a good second choice. If it’s directed east or west, the sunrise or sunset may trigger the camera
To learn about the best camera features check out the First Time Trailcam Buyers Guide at Trailcampro. You will learn, for instance, that the most megapixels is not as important as a good lens. More affordable wildlife cameras may be found at Amazon.
Like most photographic endeavors, photographing wildlife takes experience and patience, but dumb luck also plays a part.
These bald eagles were filmed with a webcam.