Archy- Quail Nest Monitoring

Tinhorn

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Arch,

A Missouri Conservation Manager asked if we could try my cams out over Quail Nests to Monitor Predators this spring.

Of course I agreed, sounds like fun, but what can I do about the quail tripping the camera?  build a Night-Time Only circuit?

This venture sounds right up your alley, any tips would be appreciated...

Thanx

Tinhorn
 



Archilochus

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Hi Tinhorn,
Beginning to think you were having so much fun out in the woods you'd never be back!
>>>>
Interesting problem....a couple possibilities come to mind (along with some stupid ideas :}
1) If you can figure out how to adjust the sensitivity of the MS-20 sensor you could set it to ignore quail-sized animals.  But then you'd miss any smaller predators - weasels etc.
You could also try modifying the Fresnel lens so it only 'looks' over a certain height - same problem as above though.

2) Build an active IR sensor and set it up so it is higher than the quail - but again you'd miss the small predators.

3) A pulse count circuit might help reduce how often the quail trigger the camera.  You could have the circuit set to trigger the cam only if the sensor counts a certain amount of 'events' in a certain amount of time - say something like ~3 'events' in ~5 seconds. Under normal conditions the quail approaching or leaving the nest would probably be moving fairly slowly and might only trigger the sensor 1 or 2 times in the 5 second period.  When a predator approaches the quail runs or flies off, triggering the sensor a few times and then the predator shows up, triggering the sensor again and gets its pic taken.  Of course if the timing isn't just right, no pic will be taken of the predator.

4)  For REAL fun you could radio tag the quail and have the sensor pick up the RF signal and go inactive when the quail are close. The quail would probably run away when the predator appraoched allowing the sensor to become active. But then you'd only get egg predators.  Might still give a fair representation of the predator base though.

The night-time only circuit might work out, but I'm guessing the quail rustle around a bit at night and might use up the film pretty quick.  They might also abandon the nest if they get flashed too often.

How about video?? - You get a lot of recording time.  You could have 20 second movie clips which would give ~360 clips if you used a 2 hour tape.  With a very narrow sensor coverage area, even the quail moving around would take quite a while to use up the tape.  Use one of those 'nightshot' Sony cameras and you could use IR illumination - pretty cool! (check out some of Brians posts - he's working on a servo circuit for the Sony video cams to switch the nightshot on/off)

How about using dummy nests instead of monitoring actual nests?  Maybe use cotournix (sp??) quail eggs in those little pet bird nesting baskets.  We got pics of many predators using dummy nests.

E-gads! - another LONG one!
Arch
 

Tinhorn

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Thanx Arch,

No Post is too long as long as I'm interested in what's being said, "How I Killed the 55 point Buck" is what's boring to me.......ha ha

I looked at a PIR Fresnel Lens radiation pattern diagram, looks like it fans DOWN, maybe I could turn it over and create an Alley of no sensitivity.  As you mentioned, it'd miss weasels probably but I don't think Welby'll be around that much........er ah...did I say that,  Oops!    Just Joking!   (really)

I guess I could do some tests over, or actually under, a bird feeder, plenty of test subjects there, on the ground.

I bet you're right about the Quail Abandoning nests with too many flashes!  Maybe I could have the cam "Look" a couple feet away from the nest and get an approaching Predator, using the Nite-Time only feature, and it wouldn't see the quail yawning and stretching......

BUT I really like your "Fake Nest Idea"   Maybe I should have guys I know who Quail Hunt (& have success, unlike me) freeze some feathers, etc for "Stink" bait on a fake nest.....

I knew you'd come thru

Thanx again

Tinhorn
 

Jon Bain

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You know this was done recently in GA using the beam type of dector.  Not the PIR but the other one.  They used time delayed video cameras.  Worked good because they got pictures of Armadillos raiding nest and eating eggs along with snakes and other animals.  I'll see if I can find the link that takes you to the web site where the study was done.  You may get some ideas from it.
 

Tinhorn

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Jon,

Great!

Thanx a million.  I can see where an Electric Eye Beam would work pretty good.  I thought Armadillos were vegetarians,  they have moved up in this area the past few years (Missouri)

Thanx again

Tinhorn
 

Archilochus

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Hi JB,
Very cool!
Didn't see any mention of a sensor at all there.  I think they just recorded constantly - see where it says the bit about recording at a reduced rate of 3:1 - that allowed for 24 hours of recording time on an 8 hour tape.

Speaking of vegetarians - we once got a pic of a snowshoe hare eating eggs from a dummy nest - strange!

Archilochus
 

coyote

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Hi guys,
I got asked to monitor a a rare owl nest with one of mine this past summer on my land.  I'll try to get a pic up this week end...but anyway...the camera idea back fired [I think]because of the extra commotion and visible box drew a preditor in and killed all their owlets.  The camera was full and didn't show what got 'em but I felt responcable thier demise.  I don't know...but discreat is manditory when it comes to stressing nesting birds ..tele lense, no-flash,small well camo-ed housing and leave it be for days -everything eats baby birds....yoteee'


(Edited by coyote at 7:07 pm on Nov. 16, 2001)
 

gizz

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That's a neat pic coyote.
Too bad about the owlets. Don't take it too bad though as it's obvious you care enough about the wildlife enough to feel responsible. I'm sure you wouldn't have messed with them if you might of thought this would've happened.
later,
gizz
 

Fubar

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coyote  Thats a great pic. I wouldnt blame yourself for their demise. Stuff happens out there in the Wild. Its a tough world.             Fubar
 

wapiti

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Just the human scent of finding a nest can lead predators to it.  How many times have turkey hunters flushed a hen, went to the nest counted eggs, and returned a few days later and found the nest predatorized.

Snakes are nest predators too and the cam wouldn't pick them up either.  I'd say raising the beam above quail height would acheive desirable results.
 

coyote

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That's a great point wapiti.  also..The hen gets flushed from the nest once she's likely to lose her nerve sooner the next time.  Possibly abandoning her lay.  
I know my interruptions negitively helped the cause.  By the way can anyone guess what kind of owl this is?  ...yoteee'
 

wapiti

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It's a great pic yotee!  I'd say it's a spotted owl, although I've never seen one.  It's definitely related to the barred owl.  Are you in the northwest?
 

Passthru

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 What about useing a couple cams that are not pointed directly at the nest?maybe just off to the side,with two cams you could get anything coming into the nest just before it gets there.if there where 3 cams set out to make a triangle that has 20ft sides,anything entering the triangle would be on film,nest in middle of course.
 

spectr17

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Interesting stuff you get to read here.

Yotee, I'd say that is the rare "Blind Owl" after getting his retinas fried from a camera flash.:smile-big-blue:

Reading about owls and how good their night vision is used to make me wonder when we used NVGs in the miltary. You could see real good with the NVGs in the dark but if soemone turned on a flashlight nearby or carlights, it was like you just walked onto the Sun's surface.  I wonder if it is the same for animals that have really sensitive eyesight in the dark or do they have some sort of compensator to stop the light overload?

Don't feel bad yotee about the owl, your intent was noble. One time we tried to blow this huge dead tree for demolition training with some det cord and some C4 plastic explosive. We placed 2 charges on the tree, one to cut it in half and the other charge to kick it over to block a road.

Murphy showed up and only one charge went off setting the tree on fire. About the time we stopped slapping each other for the screw up, a big snowy white owl flew out of the top of the tree with his tail feathers smoking. We really felt like idiots then. I hoped he lived and that we didn't end up maiming or killing him. Poor guy was just having a nice daytime snooze in his comfy treetrunk and WHAM!!! us idiots picked the wrong tree to blow.
 

coyote

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Thanxs guys.
I do love my birds of prey.  Not a spotted-barred-blind or even the sureshot owl.
The owl shown in the pic is a Long-eared owl with it's ears tucked.  The nest was in the hollow tree top behind.  I had the provincal bird bander slated to band the chicks the following saturday.  If I had to guess what killed them I say it was a goshhawk that had a nest appox. 300 yards away. ....yoteee'
 

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