Guide to using Garden Trail Cameras!

Say cheese!  Jon Hawkins.

Say cheese! Jon Hawkins.

Practice makes perfect!

Practice makes perfect!

Spring is almost upon, "hooray", I hear you say! Now is a great time to think about dusting off that trail camera or if you're new to the 'trail camera world' I can guarantee that you will will not regret purchasing this fantastic piece of kit.  There are lots of trail cameras available now and some are relatively cheap. It is best to buy the best quality you can afford to make sure you have one that durable and can stand up to Welsh weather! If it is IP66-rated it is fully waterproof.

In general they have a motion sensor that will pick up movement. They should also have infra-red LED’s and an Ultra-low light sensor to enable you to get good images at night. They use AA batteries and images are stored on a memory card. They can be set to take stills or videos.

Check out our Wildlife Trust Top Tips!

1. Location, location, location: To set up a trail camera in your garden think about where wildlife may go. Perhaps you have a hint of a path in the lawn or a tunnel going into the bushes? Alternatively aim it at the bird feeders or across the lawn. This is looking at my hedgehog tunnel and feeding station.

2. Is it charged? Batteries: High capacity batteries will last longer. AA rechargeable cells are now available with 2500mAh capacity or more. Although alkaline batteries may have capacity of over 3000mAh their output declines over time so the camera may stop working. Rechargeable NiMh batteries will give a more steady output. As they are rechargeable so you will use less batteries over the lifetime of the camera.

3. Memory matters! Image recording: Most cameras take SDHD memory Card. Again get the best you can afford. You will need a higher capacity card if you plan to take videos or leave the camera out for a few days. Check the class recommended for your camera.

4. Camera set up: Follow the instructions in the user manual. You will need to choose whether you want to record stills or video and the quality of these. The length of video recorded each time can also be set. 30 seconds should give you a good look at what triggered the camera and what it is doing without using up too much memory and battery power. Don’t forget to set the date and time so you know when your visitors came.

5. Fixing in position: 2cm tape straps with a gripping buckle are the easiest to adjust to hold the camera in position. Their width and flexibility mean they grip the post or tree trunk securely. Cable ties and string will work, although you may find the camera slips if it is out for a while. You may need to improvise to get the best angle!

6. Lights, camera, action! Once the camera is in position turn it on. It is so easy to forget that bit! Make sure the clip is securely closed and walk away.

7. Images: Some trail cameras have an internal screen where you can preview your images but these are quite small. To download the images you may need a card reader if your computer does not have a port for SDHD cards.

Don't forget to make sure you have the landowner’s permission before you set up a camera anywhere that is not your property. Share your findings with us on social media.

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