Creating a wildlife refuge in your backyard is a fun way to get close to the local fauna even if you live in the heart of an urban area. Whether your “prey” is a hummingbird or a deer, attracting animals leads to breathtaking photographs.
The only problem is that you can’t be there all the time. How do you catch those missed photographic opportunities? For that, you use a camera trap.
What Is a Camera Trap?
A camera trap is simply a camera placed in an area where animals are frequently seen. The camera has a trigger that will snap a photo when an animal comes near. Old, primitive traps used trip wires; today’s traps are more likely to use a motion sensor.
Special trail cameras, or trail cams, have been created specifically for this application. They are digital, allowing hundreds of pictures to be taken between checks. Many use infrared flashes to take night pictures without spooking the animals.
Preparing Your Personal Wildlife Refuge
Putting a trail camera out doesn’t do much good unless you have a way of attracting wildlife. For example, if your goal is to photograph birds, set up a bird feeder on your balcony or patio with a trail camera mounted a few feet away. As the birds gather to feed, the motion will trigger the camera to snap pictures. Check it as often as you like, every day or even every week, and sort through the pictures to keep the best ones.
It’s easy to go a step further by landscaping your whole backyard as a refuge. Local nurseries can tell you which plants are best for attracting different animal species. Depending on where you live you may be able to attract all kinds of reptiles, small mammals like squirrels and rabbits, or even exotic animals like bats.
Help the Environment
Creating a backyard habitat for a camera trap does more than just generate astounding pictures. When you landscape your yard to coexist with the natural surroundings rather than fighting it, you are extending the habitat for animals that may be losing ground.
If you want to get serious about it, look into the National Wildlife Foundation’s certification program. With their help you create a true haven for species that struggle to survive in our artificial environments. You get a Certified Wildlife Habitat sign you can proudly display on your property and the knowledge that you are giving back to nature and helping the planet.
Show off your refuge and get the whole community involved. The more yards that are landscaped for local wildlife, the less of a negative impact human habitation has. Community greenbelts can be landscaped in the same way, creating friendly environments for humans and wildlife alike.