Images from the Game Camera, Part 3

Now that the nighttime temperatures are above freezing, I have deployed our game cameras. I bought an additional camera so I could better understand the movement of animals through our yard. I had only deployed the second camera for a week when I observed a raccoon cross our yard from the west fence to the east fence. I’m hoping to make more observations like that because I’m curious how larger animals such as raccoons and fox move through our fence-enclosed yard.

The seemingly ubiquitous Eastern cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus) is the most frequently photographed animal by our game cameras. However, after a red fox was observed in our yard, I noticed there were less rabbit sightings.

A picture of an Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus)
An Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus).

The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) clearly has no issue getting over our fence. I’m hoping to actually capture an image of one jumping our fence.

A picture of a red fox (Vulpes vulpes)
A red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in our yard.

I have mixed thoughts about raccoons. One thought I have is they are just another animal passing through our yard like any other animal and they deserve to do so without harassment. Another I have is they have damaged our property and are a host for a type of intestinal parasite (Baylisascaris procyonis) that can infect humans. Realizing that I cannot keep them from our yard, I only undertake to keep them away from our house by utilizing repellants. Otherwise, I leave them be.

A picture of a raccoon (Procyon lotor)
A raccoon (Procyon lotor) walking in our yard.

This year was the first time a game camera captured an image of a Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana). I have seen them previously during both the day and night. Lizzie even found one in the big brush pile at the bottom of the hill, but, they have been eluding our cameras. However, something was triggering the new camera, which I had placed on the east side of the yard, but the camera was failing to capture any images. After I realized the motion sensor had a wider angle of detection than the camera had for image capture, I placed the camera closer to the ground. The next night, the camera captured images of an opossum.

A picture of a Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana)
An opossum (Didelphis virginiana) in the backyard.

On Nextdoor, people have reported seeing coyotes (Canis latrans) in nearby neighborhoods. Because of that, I don’t let Lizzie out alone at night. At 55 pounds, Lizzie easily outweighs a male coyote (about 30 pounds) but I don’t want her tangling with one regardless. I would, however, like to find images of one on our game cameras.

Images from the Game Camera, Part 2

Our game camera has captured plenty of daytime images but what interests me the most are the images captured at night. During the daytime, I frequently see the squirrels and birds that frequent our yard during the daylight hours. Below are a few images captured at night.

We occasionally see Eastern cottontails in our yard during the day but I had hoped the presence of Lizzie in our yard would scare off the rabbits. However, the amount of images of rabbits captured by the game camera made me realize the real party is at night!

A picture of an Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus)
An Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) investigating a log.

Prior to the erection of our fence, nighttime sightings of raccoons were a regular enough occurrence that I thought nothing of it. After our fence went up and we saw no raccoons during the day, I naively hoped they were not frequenting our yard. The image below informed me that they were still visiting our yard, even if only on an irregular basis.

A picture of a raccoon (Procyon lotor)
A raccoon (Procyon lotor) walking away from the game camera.

Prior to our putting up our fence, a red fox (Vulpes vulpes) made regular rounds through our yard. On one occasion, I saw it lift its leg and piss on our garage. I also found the remains of several rabbits under shrubs and bushes that, I assume, belong to the fox. I thought that maybe the fence would dissuade the fox from entering our yard. Apparently, that is not true. Hopefully, the fox will eat the rabbits that have been frequenting our yard.

A picture of a red fox (Vulpes vulpes)
A red fox (Vulpes vulpes) hunting in our yard.

Images from the Game Camera, Part 1

I bought a game camera with the hope of recording the coming and going of a nesting pair of White-breasted nuthatches (Sitta carolinensis) that were nesting in one of our nest boxes. For various reasons, that didn’t work out to my satisfaction. Looking for a use for the game camera, I placed it in various locations in our yard to discover what it might record. Below are a few images captured by it.

As expected in east central Minnesota, there are plenty of Eastern Gray Squirrels to be photographed.

A picture of an Eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
An Eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) looking for lunch on our patio.

Another frequent visitor to our yard is the American robin, often with an eye towards the ground, looking for worms to eat. While gardening, I place any grubs I find on a stump for birds to eat. Robins are usually the first to snatch them up.

A picture of an American robin (Turdus migratorius)
An American robin (Turdus migratorius) foraging in our yard.

The Chipping Sparrow is a regular summer-time resident. I frequently see them hopping through the grass, looking for seeds and insects. They appear to be fairly bold birds, approaching within a few feet of Lizzie. Lizzie, for the most part, ignores them preferring to hunt for rodents.

A picture of a chipping sparrow (Spizella passerina)
A chipping sparrow (Spizella passerina) foraging for insects and seeds.

Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus)

While looking through photographs captured by my game camera, I was surprised to see that it had photographed an Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) rabbit early one morning before sun rise.

A picture of an Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) rabbit
An Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) rabbit hopping through our yard.
A picture of an Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) rabbit.
An Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) eating seed.
A picture of an An Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) rabbit
The Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) rabbit leaving after eating seed.

Lizzie and the Game Camera

I recently bought a game camera, a ruggedized motion-activated camera used by hunters and wildlife watchers. I plan to use it to record the comings and goings of the birds using one of our nest boxes. Since the nest boxes are not yet being used, I’ve been using it to record activity of our back steps. I was hoping it would record the activities of squirrels visiting the feeding stations but all it seems to record is Lizzie coming and going.

A picture of Lizzie playing in the backyard.
Lizzie playing in the backyard, probably chasing a snowball.

Early one morning, Lizzie walked out the back door and knocked the camera off the steps. The camera captured her looking down over the steps at the camera.

A picture of Lizzie looking down at the knocked over camera
Lizzie looking down from the steps at the camera she just knocked over.