Wildlife Reality TV
A sage-grouse mating dance, wolf cubs frolicking with their pack, nesting kestrels… these are rare sights that even the most dedicated wildlife-watcher won’t catch in a lifetime. But remote cameras—whether live cams or camera traps—can bring these spectacles right onto your computer or phone screen.
Caught on Camera for Science
Aside from their undeniable entertainment value, wildlife cameras can also provide valuable data to researchers studying animal behavior, migration and distribution.
Check out the examples below to see how live cams and trail cams are helping The Nature Conservancy study and protect animals around the United States.
Sage-Grouse Lek Cam, Oregon
Once commonly found across 16 states and three Canadian provinces, the greater sage-grouse has experienced an 80% decline in population numbers. Every year from March through May, male sage-grouse come to communal mating grounds, or leks, to show off their moves. In hopes of impressing some very picky hens, these males puff their chests, fan their feathers and really strut their stuff.
The video above is a recorded clip. Visit our lek cam to see these displays live. The best time to view them is between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. Pacific time.
Kestrel Cam, Great Salt Lake Shorelands, Utah
Although American kestrels are widespread across North America, they are losing their habitat to development like so many other birds. The Great Salt Lake is a critical stopover in the West for migratory birds. Kestrels have been visiting our nestbox at the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve for eight years, but this is the first year that we've installed a nest cam. Our pair laid five eggs in early April and they should hatch in early May!
Wolf Trail Cameras, Southeast Alaska
TNC researchers traveled deep into the remote wilderness of Southeast Alaska to learn more about its elusive wolves. They placed trail cameras and scent posts on Prince of Wales Island and the surrounding islands to capture photos and samples. Biologists are now analyzing this information as part of a multi-year study aimed at determining the presence and resilience of wolf packs in the area.
Trail Cams Confirm High Mammal Diversity, Gila River, New Mexico
A biology professor at the University of Nebraska at Kearney set up a trail cam at our Gila Riparian Preserve in New Mexico and found a wealth of mammal diversity, including the coati shown above.
Trail Cam, Independence Lake Preserve, Nevada
Conservancy scientists in Nevada are using a motion sensing camera to collect information about the wildlife at this preserve in the Sierra Nevada.
Camera Traps Track Wildlife Movements, New Hampshire
We deployed more than 30 motion-sensing cameras along a rural highway in New Hampshire to help find the places where they are crossing. The data will help us make decisions about which areas to protect to preserve wildlife travel corridors.
Wildlife Cams, Zumwalt Prairie, Oregon
Trail cams at this preserve in Oregon revealed a diversity of species, including the chukar and chicks above who got curious.
More Camera Trap Science, North Carolina
Our scientists in North Carolina are using camera traps to study issues ranging from the impact of deer hunting, to the effects of controlled fire on birds and small mammals.