|Bobcats are one of the several animals I have seen in my back yard on my trail camera, like this guy posing for the camera.|
Area Profile - Snohomish, Washington
Have you ever wondered what kinds of animals you get in your neighborhood, especially at night when everyone is sleeping? I live in the outerskirts of the Seattle area (Snohomish to be exact) and my house has at least 2 acres of lands, backs ups to woods and is kinda out in the foothills (with nice views of the Cascades in the distance (you can also see Mount Baker to the north on a clear day in my neighborhood). Across the street from my house is a field where you can see coyotes, raccoons, deer, and possibly even red foxes scurrying around (I haven't seen them, but one of my neighbors think they are around, though coyotes are much more common than foxes in my neighborhood), though sadly it is slowly being converted into a development which will mean less animal sightings as a result (maybe some of them will move to my own back yard considering that there are no plans of building behind my house anytime soon. I've been using the trail cams (primarily the Akaso one) for a few months now and I have already been getting some interesting results with them. You know what inspired me to getting a trail cam: the web cams I've been watching on the Simon King Wildlife website. It is a website owned by naturalist Simon King, based out of England and it has some cameras people can watch (like a lake camera, badger fox feeder camera set in some meadows, a "fox family" camera set in someone's garden in the London area), and others. Some animals I have seen on those cameras includes: red foxes, badgers, squirrels, field mice, black cats, and various kinds of birds. I do live far away from England (Snohomish Washington to be exact, literally on the west coast of the United States), but the cameras have made me curious about the wildlife in my own back yard, so what better way to learn about the local wildlife than to set up trail cams. With trail cams, you can set them up where you want (I usually tie mine to some trees) and whenever animals come by, the camera takes pictures and/or videos of them.
On the down side, sometimes I do get false positives (where the camera goes off but nothing is there) and there are days where I get little or no activity (though I have been doing some experimenting on finding good hotspots for animal sightings), but that is probably to be expected sometimes, especially considering that I am still a learner when it comes to trail cams. Will probably get more adept at capturing animals on my trail cams by the end of next year (as I get more familiar with my back yard and various hot spots). Will probably also bring my trail cam(s) with me on future camping trips, future trips to my condo in Bend Oregon (Eaglecrest Resort) and possibly Malibu BC next year (assuming I go on the men's retreat), though I will probably have to get some anti theft devices before taking them to public places.
Noteworthy captures so far (from my channel on youtube, though not every video I have posted):Coyote Feeding Frenzy video (at least one coyote was feasting on some bread crumbs and apple slices right by my trail cam)
Besides Coyotes, we also get bobcats in my neighborhood. Interestingly, the bobcat seems to notice the camera and has been checking it out (had another sighting last night which I will share later)
Here was a coyote I saw in the field across the street once. The only downside: I think the streetlights messes with the infared light, making it harder to see. But I did see a coyote once there.
One night last month, I got 2 coyotes running by my trail cam in the back yard. Usually only one is present at a time, but once I got 2 coyotes
Here is a short video I got of a coyote running by my brother's fort in the back yard. Usually I don't get activity there, but sometimes animals do come by, like this coyote (slowed down the video a bit so people can get a good look at the animal).
Another thing I have noticed about my trail cam: we do get lots of small animals, including opossums, squirrels, rabbits, and small birds (though we also get bald eagles, owls and hawks sometimes too). In this video, I put out some backyard feed and more or less got a timelapse of squirrels and stellar jays eating the food I had put out (feeding frenzy style).
Animal Profiles from my trail cam area
Regular visitors (these are animals I see most frequently):- Small birds (finches, robins, etc). These guys are small and often visit my cameras.
- Stellar jays. These guys are kinda like blue jays with some differences. They pretty much eat anything you put out for them and are sometimes known to make appearances, especially when I put food out for them
- Opossums. These are probably the most common of the nocturnal rodents (as opposed to raccoons) and are most frequently spotted by my shed. One time I got one on camera feasting on some eggs one night.
- Squrrels. These guys are pretty common too and are usually seen during the day.
- Rabbits. Yes, I do get rabbits hopping by sometimes, especially between dusk and dawn and sometimes they are out late at night too (ironically, that is also when the coyotes and bobcats are most active too).
- My neighbor's dog Hank (a black lab). My neighbor has a black lab named Hank, and he does seem to be a frequent visitor by the shed area.
Also my golden retriever Tucker used to go by there sometimes, at least before he passed away back in November, so I won't be seeing him there anymore.
Less common animals. These guys do come by sometimes, but not every day or night (though these guys seem to be most active at night):- Coyotes. Like the foxes I have been seeing on the Fox web cams (see https://www.simonkingwildlife.com/fox-family-cam/) I've been watching (based out of England), here in my neighborhood in Washington State, we do get some wild canines coming by every so often in my back yard, though instead of foxes, we mainly get coyotes instead. They are kinda like red foxes in a way, but twice their size and are known to howl at night (much like wolves do). Not sure if we get wolves in my area, but we do get coyotes for sure. Sometimes I will hear them howling at night too (even when I don't see them), especially in the summer months. Will definitely have to be careful about letting my little dog Angel (the shih tzu) out at night now that I know that we have coyotes that come through every so often (and now with Tucker dead and gone, who usually offered protection for Angel when she goes out). These guys seem to be most active at night, though sometimes they can be seen early in the morning or late in the evening and usually you can only see one at a time (though sometimes you can get 2 or more present). You never really know when coyotes are going to come by too. Some nights I get them on my trail cams, sometimes I don't. Most recent sighting (as of this posting): December 24 (was at church when they came by that evening).
|This hungry coyote came by eating the sliced apples and bread crumbs I had put out for squirrels and birds. Interestingly, rabbits are also active at night too, making for potential prey for coyotes (especially over by the shed).|
|Here was a bobcat I saw posing for the camera|
Haven't seen these guys lately, but I did see some by my shed sometimes (one seemed to take residence under it for a little while there)
Other animals I haven't seen on camera, but could encounter eventually:- Cougar (aka mountain lions). I can't say I have ever seen a mountain lion in the wild besides the ones I saw at Northwest Trek (let alone in my own neighborhood), but they do seem to have a presence in the area and could make an appearance eventually (would be quite the discovery if I did). Here is a cougar a fellow youtuber saw on their camera somewhere here in Washington.
- Raccoons. I have seen them in the neighborhood myself, especially in the field across the street, as well as along the side road down the hill. Sometimes I have seen roadkill raccoons on various roads and highways too, especially along the highway 522 freeway near Monroe as well as the highway 18 freeway near Auburn. I can't say I have seen them on my trail cam yet, but I know they are around here (they will probably get more active in the warmer months). Interestingly, last time I was visiting Bend, a family of raccoons came by and were checking us out. One good place to set up a trail cam if I could: point defiance park, along the 5 mile drive section. I usually see raccoons along there from time to time. They are also a common sight at Northwest Trek too (like these guys in the video below)
BTW, I should go camping on San Juan Island sometime and bring my trail cam with me and see if I can get any foxes on camera there (they are definitely more common there than they are in my neighborhood, probably due to the lack of coyote population there). Interestingly, the presence of coyotes probably keep foxes at bay here. I have read that foxes tend to be more scarce in areas where coyotes are since coyotes are known to hunt and eat foxes sometimes (they view them as competitors) and we do get coyotes in my area, so foxes are probably less common as a result. Still there may be some foxes in the area (especially in the field). One interesting story: I was driving to my church (Snohomish Community Church) one night last December (2016) and close where to my brother Justin's friend Nick's old house is (he is now a police officer living in the Portland area), I saw a pair of foxy looking eyes (though coyotes have similar eyes) and saw what appeared to be a cross phase red fox (the ones with the darker fur and what looks like a black mask on their faces). Sighting was short lived though is at looked at my car and ran off into the woods, though I was able to make out its body and bushy tail (probably would have gotten a better look at it if I wasn't driving). Face was too dark too (though definitely bigger than a typical cat), but I could tell it was most likely a fox (officially marked my first time seeing a fox in the wild since moving to Washington and possibly since the time I saw one in Wisconsin many years back when I was still a kid).
Others: Owls, Eagles, Hawks, Lynx (I know we have bobcats, but I am not sure if we get lynx, which are about 2x the size of bobcats), wolves (they seem to be more common east of the cascades than west of the cascades, though their range do seem to be slowly expanding), Sasquatches (just because I haven't seen one doesn't necessarily mean they don't exist and I do live in a wooded area, so they could have a presence around here assuming they do exist, and I have heard about sightings near Duvall too, which is kinda like Snohomish in some ways and is about 10 miles south of Monroe on highway 203) and skunks.
That is all for now. Animals I have seen so far includes: deer, coyotes, bobcats, rabbits, squirrels, small birds (including stellar jays), opossums, neighbor's dogs, and feral cats (will add to the list as needed over time).
Now that I have 2 trail cams, I will definitely have more coverage and sightings to share too (for example, now I can set them up in more than one spot and do more than one angle too). I also tentatively plan to take at least one of them with me on future camping trips, trips to my vacation home in Bend, and possibly Malibu BC too. Will have to get some kind of anti-theft device to ensure they don't get stolen when I take them with me. May eventually get a 3rd cam if a need arises, but I think 2 will have to do for now.
Notes and disclaimers about the trail cams:
- No guarantee of sightings. I can't promise I will have sightings to share on an every day basis. As I already know, sightings tend to be hit and miss. Somtimes I have activity to share, sometimes I don't. Usually don't know what animals my cameras pick up till I check them (usually the next day, though sometimes I will have to leave them out for a few days, especially when my day jobs pick up). BTW, if you opt to buy trail cams for your home, I can't guarantee you will have results either. The results I have been sharing are based on my own personal experiences and are based out of my own area (Snohomish, Washington). Every area is going to be different and may yield better results than others. Obviously cities are probably going to yield less spectacular results (though you may get smaller animals like squirrels, pigeons, raccoons and maybe even the occasional urban fox or coyote sometimes in cities), but I live out in the country side (my house literally backs up to woods), so I will get some bigger animals in the area (especially like coyotes and bobcats). Feel free to share your own experiences with them.
- On a flip side, you could be in for some unexpected surprises. You never know what you might capture on trail cams. I am sure I will be in for some surprises over then next year (like the coyote feeding frenzy I got the other night). You may even learn about more potentially dangerous animals too (like bears, cougars, wolves, lions, etc) too. Use at your own risk.
Have you ever considered getting a trail cam for your property? You can check out these cams from Amazon.com (affiliate) below: