Baby bunny hiding in the grass (Photo courtesy Travis Muir)

Baby bunny hiding in the grass (Photo courtesy Travis Muir)

Camera Capture

Trail Cameras: What are they for?

Fox at Rockland Bay property (Photo by NCC)

Fox at Rockland Bay property (Photo by NCC)

Jackie Bastianon was the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) 2018 communications intern for the Alberta Region. She is currently studying journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa and hopes to use her writing skills to compel people to care about the environment as much as she does.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is expanding with every passing year. As more land is conserved and the NCC team continues to grow across the country, it is important to ensure that NCC staff are able to maintain and monitor the properties. As a science-based organization, this monitoring includes using technology such as trail cameras.

NCC has several natural area managers (NAMs) in every province, and each is in charge maintaining and monitoring dozens of properties within their area. These properties may be located anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours away from where they live. Considering the amount of time it takes to get to each property, it's no wonder that it often takes an entire summer's worth of work for NAMs to visit each and every one of their projects.

This is where trail cameras come in handy. Wild animals actively avoid humans, and it’s important to know which species are living on or travelling across our conservation sites. These cameras can help record what kind of animals are making use of the properties at all times of the year.

Many properties across Alberta have these cameras. In the slideshow below are shots from a couple of properties in the Red Deer River natural area.

[story continues below slideshow]

  • White-tailed deer at Rockland Bay property (Photo by NCC)
    Click on the image to enlarge.
    White-tailed deer at Rockland Bay property (Photo by NCC)
  • Turkey vultures at Rachel Agnes Hayes property (Photo by NCC)
    Click on the image to enlarge.
    Turkey vultures at Rachel Agnes Hayes property (Photo by NCC)
  • Mule deer at Rockland Bay property (Photo by NCC)
    Click on the image to enlarge.
    Mule deer at Rockland Bay property (Photo by NCC)
  • Moose at Rachel Agnes Haynes property (Photo by NCC)
    Click on the image to enlarge.
    Moose at Rachel Agnes Haynes property (Photo by NCC)
  • Hairy woodpecker at Rachel Agnes Haynes property (Photo by NCC)
    Click on the image to enlarge.
    Hairy woodpecker at Rachel Agnes Haynes property (Photo by NCC)
  • Fox at Rockland Bay property (Photo by NCC)
    Click on the image to enlarge.
    Fox at Rockland Bay property (Photo by NCC)
  • Elk at Rockland Bay property (Photo by NCC)
    Click on the image to enlarge.
    Elk at Rockland Bay property (Photo by NCC)

 

Rachel Agnes Hayes

Rachel Agnes Hayes has successfully captured many species through the use of a trail camera. In 2017 and 2018, the following species were seen on the property thanks to the trail camera: coyote, jack rabbit, white-tailed deer, moose and a variety of birds, including hairy woodpecker, cedar waxwing and black-capped chickadee.

Rockland Bay

Rockland Bay is another property located in the Red Deer River region. In 2017 and 2018, NCC staff observed the following species using the property: coyote, elk, grouse, jack rabbit, moose, mule deer, white-tailed deer and fox.

Other uses

Trail cameras may also used to identify any trespassing on NCC properties. Some of our conservation site are not listed online and are closed to the public, but this doesn't always stop people from passing through. All footage taken of people who have access to properties is deleted immediately.

Moving forward

These cameras allow NCC staff to see what species are living on their properties and to catch a glimpse of shy animals that only come out when nobody is around to disturb them. These tools are very effective and a great asset for helping NCC keep and accurate recording of which species are using our sites and help up steward these special properties.

The Conservation Internship Program is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Summer Work Experience program.

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