How do you set up the cameras at the nest?
Do the cameras decrease nest success?
This is perhaps one of the most common questions that we get asked. At first thought, many people would think that having a foreign object (camera) at a nest site would attract predators and ultimately lead to a depredation. However, we have not seen this trend during the two years of the study. In fact, average nest success on nests with cameras is slightly higher than nests without cameras. This is consistent with a prior study conducted with cameras on bobwhite quail nests. Much like our study, the bobwhite quail project also saw higher average nest success on nests with cameras. This could be in relation to the daily nest success as we put the cameras on nests that have already survived past a week without being predated, so the higher average nest success cannot directly be attributed to the cameras being at the nest.
How do you find the nests?
By chain dragging through search plots owned by Ducks Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy. This chain is dragged over the hen while she is on her nest, without harming her, and flushes her off the nest. We spot her fly off, stop the four wheelers, and go find the nest by foot from there.
What is "Chain Dragging"?
Chain dragging involves two people on two separate four wheelers connected by a 150 foot chain. The two individuals start on one side of a field and drive the length of it spaced out roughly 100-120 feet from each other. This allows the chain to have some slack so the four wheelers can make turns, and the chain doesn't drag against the ground so hard. Once the end of the field is reached, the one individual on the side of the field leap frogs the second individual, and they both drive back the way they came from. This continues until the entire field is covered.
How many cameras do you have?
We currently have 30 cameras. At one given time, we only run a maximum of 15 at one time. This is because of the amount of video that comes with the cameras. We have to keep up with watching the video. If you would like to watch some of the video that we go through, you can HERE. The other side is the upkeep with the cameras: switching out the batteries and SD cards takes a lot of time when they are all spaced out. They need to be replaced every 3 days to have the cameras going 24/7.
If you have questions that are not answered on this page, feel free to email us and we will gladly answer!