The Gift That Watches

I opened the brown box and lifted out what looked like a miniature camouflaged lunch pail. The camouflage struck me. Camouflage is put on something to conceal its presence.

 

I turned the little pail over and recognized a camera lens behind a sheet of glass and a honeycomb webbing above the lens. Curious, I opened the clasp on the pail and saw inside slots for twelve AA lithium batteries. The pail seemed like some sort of camera, but I couldn’t figure out how to take a picture with it. I saw no button to release the shutter.  I looked toward Bruce.

 

“Okay,” I said, “I give up, what is this?”

 

“You don’t have any idea?” said Bruce.

 

Thinking back I remember him saying, “you will love it; it will help you write stories; it has something to do with your donkeys.”

 

“I know it’s something I’m supposed to love; it seems like some sort of camera, but I already have a camera,” I said.

 

“It’s a game trail camera, and it takes a picture whenever it senses motion. Place it on a tree, a fence, or a post, and all the animals moving within the range of the lens get photographed. It takes two frames per second and uses infrared technology, so it can capture images day and night,” Bruce said.

The game trail camera.
The game trail camera.

 

The game trail camera from the side. Looks like a small lunch pail. Inside it holds 12 AA lithium batteries.
The game trail camera from the side. Looks like a small lunch pail. Inside it holds 12 AA lithium batteries.

 

 

Therefore, I’ll get to see the coyote that make the scat we find along the trail.  And maybe even see a cougar! Last year workman saw a smaller male cat cross our prairie. And though a cougar could eat a donkey, I’m not sure if this is the connection Bruce referred to when he said the gift “has something to do with your donkeys.”  I hope not.

 

But before capturing movement along a game trail, Bruce wanted to solve a mystery. He set the camera up the next day at the quail feeding station. In two days the camera took 170 pictures, but none were taken at night. Although the feed was scattered inside the thorny hedge and on a high platform, the feed seemed to be disappearing more quickly than it should. So, Bruce wanted to find out if deer or if the badger living nearby might be eating the grain.

 

Excitedly we put the data card into the reader, plugged it into my Mac and looked through the images on the laptop. I hoped for pictures of coyote (they will eat almost anything if hungry), deer, or badger, and instead three animals came up again and again:  Ouzel our dog, Chippo the donkey, and California Ground Squirrel.

Ouzel caught in the act of eating the quail food.
Ouzel caught in the act of eating the quail food.

 

A California ground squirrel gets a quick meal.
A California ground squirrel gets a quick meal.

 

Chippo, the donkey, looks pretty guilty. Has he been after the quail food too?
Chippo, the donkey, looks pretty guilty. Has he been after the quail food too?

 

 

 

So far Bruce is right this camera does have something to do with my donkeys. It seems the camera will prove all the mischief the donkeys get into during the day. Ouzel, of course, being the beloved queen bee of our pack will be forgiven for her wrongdoings and ground squirrels, well, they are famous for taking every opportunity.

 

Perhaps the game trail camera will give me more than I bargained for. Future frames will tell.

 

 

15 thoughts on “The Gift That Watches

    1. So Cool! I want one!
      Hi Cindy — you can look it up at Cabela’s Reconyx Hyperfire HC 500. I think we have the 500 – maybe the 600, but you will see it at Cabela’s. If you get one, we can compare what we see. 🙂

    1. J.P. put a trail cam behind my cabin in Clover Pass and besides deer, bear and hunters…voila! a Mountain Goat!!! miss you

      Wow, Mary Ida- that’s great. I wish I had one of these when we lived in Alaska. A mountain goat – that’s remarkable, because you weren’t up so high. I am surprised. 🙂

  1. I think this is an amazing and thoughtful gift!! I cant wait to see all of the action you capture…especially at night!

    1. I think this is an amazing and thoughtful gift!! I cant wait to see all of the action you capture…especially at night!

      Hi Janine- thanks for logging in and making a comment! Now you should be good to go for the future. I agree, I can’t wait to see what the camera sees at night. We have a variety of places we can put the camera up. Bruce has just moved it to an area that is known to have elk crossing. Stay tuned.

  2. This is really cool – I’ve often thought it would be interesting to see what my dog does when I leave her home alone all day so maybe I should pick up one for the indoors as well as outdoors!

    1. This is really cool – I’ve often thought it would be interesting to see what my dog does when I leave her home alone all day so maybe I should pick up one for the indoors as well as outdoors!

      Hi Karen– now dog spy – that is a good idea. 🙂

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