Wednesday, March 20, 2013

In Your Face

One aspect I enjoy about cam trapping is catching animals in the act - of being curious.

You see - day or night, with or without flash, most cameras have a "face" to them that's visually created by the holes for the lens, flash and sensor. And when animals notice a cam, they generally key on that face. And some even get very interested in it.

cam trap ready to go
The "face" of a camera trap

One reason they often get interested, is because that face - no matter what one might do to clean the scene - also smells funny. Of plastic, and metals, battery chemistry, and a touch of human. And animals always like to understand different smells. Could be a new food source.

And maybe the lens, shutter, or day/night IR filter makes small sounds as it operates. Sounds that might remind some foragers of mice or grubs or termites living in a knot-hole.

Which, as cam CF600 experienced in late 2011, can be quite problematic in black bear country.

But most locals are nice, and just give the cam trap a good once-over before returning to their regular programming. And it's during those up-close and "in your face" inspections that the not-so-fast cameras sometimes catch them showing their curiosity.

At least to my often over-anthropomorphic eye.

Here's eight species from my cam traps. Whaddya think?

buck deer
Black-tail buck caught with a mouthful

The raccoon once-over

steller's jay
Too-smart Steller's trying to reverse engineer a camera

fox face
Fast-blinking gray fox

woodrat up close
Woodrat inspection

Bobcat stare-down


black bear
"What's in there? Maybe grubs? Perhaps I should crack it open and find out?"

Fortunately, that was a nice bear. No cracking occurred.



  1. ahh, now I understand why I've had two broken cams on my desk for TWO years. It's because I've become accustomed to the lines around their eyes and our adventures together. The early days, "Look what you can do! Such wonderful photos." And the later days, "Why aren't you working? Where are these photos from - I didn't go there with you? I just don't understand you!" Since you mentioned grub, maybe I will just gut these two cams and turn them into lunchboxes. They are commodious, sturdy and have nice handles. and nice wrinkles. (with apologies to Lucinda Williams and Rex Harrison)

  2. That 'Yote picture is my favorite!

  3. A fun post with some awesome mug shots!

  4. Delightful. One of my first conversations with my (as it turns out) future husband was me imitating the expressions on animals caught by wildlife cameras when the animal has heard the camera click and are just starting to react to it when the image is captured. Super awkward and SO CUTE! Yours is a great collection. Kudos! =) (and long live Jimmy Durante)

  5. That coyote close-up is incredible! I've been working hard trying to get a lot of coyote pictures for research with trail-cams and this just astonishes me.


Please leave a comment, thought or question at any time.