I have been consisting putting this wildlife camera out around the garden since the start of lockdown, so around 4 months now I think? I have been changing around locations, positions, height of the camera, looking across the grass, looking down the paths, going inside sheds and little hedgehog houses ive built around the garden, and there was no activity that I wanted for so long. I would get cats, mice, squirrels, birds, which was amusing to see and quite interesting sometimes about what was in the garden that I did not really know about. Last week I started putting dog biscuits out in a hedgehog house, and even though I would not get any videos, the food would be gone and the bowls pushed around, so I checked the camera and the battery was so low that the night vision had stopped working.
I replaced the batteries over the weekend and put it back into the hedgehog house with some more food last night.
I was so thrilled to find the hedgehog last night eating away on some biscuits, proving I have been able to encourage them in the garden and can continue to provide it with food and water now and see if I can keep him and any more. I notice that the biscuits seem a little big for him and he struggled to keep it in his mouth, so I could look at crushing them a little, although I do not want to make it too easy for the mice to eat all of it, as they did seem to finish it off between 1 and 2 after the hedgehog had been in twice, the hedgehog then returned at around 4:11 and you can see it sniffing around and looking for food, whether this is the same one or different I am not sure. I can continue now to see if the hedgehog coming in and out looks different, and maybe trace where it comes from using the camera outside of the house too.
I was so excited when the Wildlife camera arrived, as I could finally get to see what was eating the foods I was leaving out, its been about a week now where I have been leaving the camera in a few different places to try and find activity, and I will share some of the videos below that I captured.
I started off by leaving the camera on the tall bird table at the bottom of the garden with some food on it, and the first couple of triggers are a magpie, which may seem like common birds but they are actually very cute and quite bold, I probably have a video of one of these most mornings at around 5 or 6, coming to see whats left in the little bowls I have been leaving out.
A couple of videos of this one little one show him eating enough to last him a while, so I left the camera again hoping something else would get a chance for a look as well.
Finally a little Chaffinch came and ate in front of the camera too which I think is very cute, and showed me how the camera works quite well at detecting motion. When the wind picked up, it did start detecting the motion of the trees behind and I did get quite a lot of these empty frames, but the positioning of the camera can help this, so lower to the ground where there is less likely to be any movement is better.
My first night I caught some field mice feeding out of the bowl, which was very cute. Not the hedgehogs I was hoping for, but also not the rats I was dreading. Since we stopped owning farm animals, I have not noticed many rats at all in the garden and this is not something I would want to encourage again.
I moved the camera around the garden a little and swapped the dog biscuits for cat biscuits, however that night, the only video was a large cat eating all the food and then leaving. I did not want to encourage neighbours cats in the garden either, we do not have neighbours where our gardens meet or join, so cats actually have to cross roads and walk a little distance to come here, and if they know there is food they will continue. So I next just set the camera up where it could see quite a long stretch of the garden or hedgerow, with a 20m trigger distance I figured at least I could know what was there and where they maybe go. A couple of nights went by without really catching anything, I tried putting one close to my front gate as I often hear movement at around midnight when I am getting out of my car after my nightly phonecall.
To see them like this without any food or anything being set up there is great as it means this is probably somewhere that they spend a lot of time. I also thought this may be a place to see hedgehogs as I have seen one up here before.
My next steps were to think of how to narrow down things that I was feeding, the cat food does seem to be something hedgehogs like better than the dog biscuits but I do not want to just feed cats. I found a tutorial for making a hedgehog feeding station online, which was basically a plastic box with a hedgehog sized hole in it and a maze made from bricks to ensure that nothing bigger could get to the food. I improvised a little with this, due to all of my plastic boxes being in use for holding fabrics. I found an old case for a boiler that had already been out in the garden a while, I blocked up one end of it and used bricks to seal up the other side, leaving a small hole for an entrance with a little maze, I then found a large tile which made a little roof for it to stop a cat just stepping into it too. There was even a hole in the top of it which I can cover and uncover to put food in and out of it easily. I left the camera with this in view last night, I was not expecting much as I suspect this would have to get used to movement near their homes, but I continue to play around with this each night, which has turned into a bit of a hobby now too, and hopefully I will have more to show another time.