Tag Archive | Snapshot Wisconsin

February Volunteer of the Month

February’s Volunteer of the Month is
Mike from Iowa County!

February’s Volunteer of the Month goes to Mike from Iowa County, one of the first two counties where Snapshot Wisconsin started recruiting volunteers. Mike was no stranger to trail cameras when he joined the project two years ago—he had spent his career as a biologist in the tropics where he used trail cameras as one technique to study and conserve wildlife.

“Camera trap techniques motivate me because the photos are a fantastic way to learn about wildlife. The pictures are a moment in time of critters’ daily movement that is captured forever,” Mike said.

Birds are among his favorite critters captured at his site, including sandhill cranes, pileated woodpeckers and a great horned owl (who Mike noted doesn’t appear to have caught the squirrel repeatedly triggering his camera). Check out this awesome photo below that Mike shared of a squabbling pileated woodpecker and crow. In addition to participating in Snapshot Wisconsin, he is also involved with wintertime roosting eagle counts with the Ferry Bluff Eagle Council.

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Thank you, Mike! Thank you to all our trail camera hosts and Zooniverse volunteers for helping us discover our wildlife together.

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January #SuperSnap

Emerging from the polar vortex and a foot of snow, we couldn’t help but reminisce on summer days for January’s #SnapshotSaturday! This summertime buck from Iowa County was nominated by Zooniverse volunteer TJPer.

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Continue classifying photos on Zooniverse and hashtagging your favorites for a chance to be featured in the next #SuperSnap blog post. Check out all of the nominations by searching “#SuperSnap” on the Snapshot Wisconsin Talk boards.

January Science Update: Photo Category Breakdown

For January’s Science Update, also featured in The Snapshot monthly e-newsletter, we explored the accumulation of Snapshot Wisconsin photos over time and how the number of photos taken fluctuates with the seasons. To date, our data set contains more than 24 million photos, and their content is a vital component of the Snapshot Wisconsin project.

bargraphThe bar chart above indicates that over half of the photos are blank. This can be attributed to the fact that our cameras contain a motion trigger function, which is designed to capture wildlife as it moves through the frame. However, this mechanism only detects movement and cannot differentiate between animals and vegetation. This means that on windy days during the spring green up period, thousands of blank photos can be captured. Occasionally cameras will malfunction and continuously take blank photos without being triggered by motion. This issue was more prevalent with earlier versions of our cameras; the model we currently use does not take as many blank photos. Additionally, over time volunteers have learned that trimming vegetation in front of their camera helps prevent blank photos.

Every day at 10:40AM, the cameras are programmed to record a time lapse photo. This is not only to document the “spring green up” period and the “fall brown down” period, but also to sync ground-level measures of greenness with satellite data. These photos are primarily used by our partners at UW-Madison and compose 7% of our data set.

It is not uncommon for our trail camera hosts to trigger the camera themselves during check events, which is the cause of most of the 3% of photos that are tagged as human. Although these photos are removed from the data set prior to analysis, they can be helpful in instances where the camera has been recording photos with the wrong date and time. A photo of a hand in front of the camera combined with the date and time reported by the volunteer at each check event are enough for us to adjust the date and time for the whole set of photos.

Twenty percent of the Snapshot Wisconsin photos are untagged, meaning they have yet to be classified as blank, human or animal. Many of these photos will be sent to the crowd sourcing website, Zooniverse, for classification. We hope to implement a program to automatically classify photos to work through this backlog as well.

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Finally, about 14% of Snapshot Wisconsin photos are of confirmed animals. In the graph above, we have broken down which species appear in these photos. Deer are by far the most common species, appearing in about two-thirds of photos, followed by squirrels, raccoons, turkey, cottontail rabbits, coyotes, and elk. The remaining 8 percent of animal tags are divided up across 34 categories including other bird, opossum, snowshoe hare, bear, crane, and fox. Elk may have a higher proportion of triggers than expected because Snapshot Wisconsin cameras are placed more densely in the elk reintroduction areas than in other areas of the state.

January Volunteer of the Month

January’s Volunteer of the Month is
Duanne from Vilas County!

January’s Volunteer of the Month goes to Duanne from Vilas County! Duanne is a long-time citizen scientist who has participated in a variety of projects including wolf tracking, lake monitoring, Snapshot Wisconsin and more. As a 50+ year bow hunting veteran, he immediately fell in love with monitoring what was going on in the natural world when he wasn’t there.

Duanne has spent more than two years monitoring trail cameras in the Clam Lake elk reintroduction area, though his first experience camera trapping came when his son gifted him a trail camera over 20 years ago. When asked about his favorite part of participating in Snapshot Wisconsin, Duanne responded, “probably just another excuse to get out in the woods” – we couldn’t agree more! He also shared that he enjoys reviewing and editing the pictures as each is a new opportunity to see something exciting. Below is a photo of the first elk that Duanne saw on one of his Snapshot Wisconsin cameras, which is quite the impressive looking buck!

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Thank you, Duanne! Thank you to all our trail camera hosts and Zooniverse volunteers for helping us discover our wildlife together.

December #SuperSnap

Can you guess who took the spot light for our December #SuperSnap? That “bobbed” tail may give it away!

The December #SuperSnap, nominated by @AUK, goes to a bobcat (Lynx rufus) from Jackson County. Often confused with their larger cousins, the Canada Lynx, bobcats can be distinguished by their short tail, tufted ears and white underbelly. They are the most abundant wildcat found in the United States, so keep an eye out for bobcats on your trail cameras!

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Continue classifying photos on Zooniverse and hashtagging your favorites for a chance to be featured in the next #SuperSnap blog post. Check out all of the nominations by searching “#SuperSnap” on the Snapshot Wisconsin Talk boards.

December Volunteer of the Month

December’s Volunteers of the Month are
Colleen and Jerry from Ashland County!

December’s Volunteer of the Month goes to Colleen and Jerry from Ashland County! The duo moved up to the Clam Lake area in the early 2000’s to build their log cabin, and love everything connected to the Northwoods. Both Colleen and Jerry work at the local gas station, the Clam Lake Junction, which keeps them grounded and connected to their small community – they even put up a pickleball court there!

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Colleen and Jerry were some of the very first volunteers to get involved monitoring Snapshot Wisconsin cameras in the Clam Lake elk reintroduction area. Colleen shared that they joined to project because it was something they could do together, and gave them an opportunity to further explore the area. The two have since played a key role in keeping up with the elk herd.

Thank you, Colleen and Jerry! Thank you to all our trail camera hosts and Zooniverse volunteers for helping us discover our wildlife together.

November #SuperSnap

This month’s #SuperSnap features a raccoon from Racine County nominated by our Zooniverse volunteer @AUK. This sequence shows what appears to be an attempt at foraging for food. A commonly known raccoon behavior is dousing or dabbling food in water. This behavior also gives the species its name Procyon lotor aka “the washer”. All these seemingly complex tasks are possible thanks to their highly dexterous fore paws.

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Continue classifying photos on Zooniverse and hashtagging your favorites for a chance to be featured in the next #SuperSnap blog post. Check out all of the nominations by searching “#SuperSnap” on the Snapshot Wisconsin Talk boards.

October #SuperSnap

This month’s #SuperSnap goes to series of photos of a red fox (Vulpes vulpes) captured on camera in Manitowoc county last January. Red foxes use their thick tails for warmth, aiding in balance and communicating with other foxes. To learn more fun foxy facts, visit this link. Thanks for sharing this stunning photo @snowdigger!

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Continue classifying photos on Zooniverse and hashtagging your favorites for a chance to be featured in the next #SuperSnap blog post. Check out all of the nominations by searching “#SuperSnap” on the Snapshot Wisconsin Talk boards.

November Volunteer of the Month

October’s Volunteer of the Month is
Roger from Sawyer County!

November’s Volunteer of the Month is Roger from Sawyer County. Roger was one of the first Snapshot Wisconsin volunteers, as he reaches 2.5 years with the project this month – wow! Roger enjoys hunting, fishing, and being outdoors every day.

Roger’s camera site is a fan favorite, and staff go-to for exciting photos. Roger recently stated, “One of the coolest things that ever happened to me was early in the program, I had a picture of eight otters going down a trail that I maintain on my property. This picture was used in a publication for the University of Wisconsin.” Images from Roger’s camera have also been used in a Snapshot Wisconsin lesson plan, Making Observations, where students are able to observations about animal behavior over time and space.

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A romp of North American river otters captured on Roger’s Snapshot Wisconsin camera

Thank you, Roger! Thank you to all our trail camera hosts and Zooniverse volunteers for helping us discover our wildlife together.

October Volunteer of the Month

October’s Volunteer of the Month is
Thomas from Marinette County!

Thomas has been a trail camera host since June 2017. Thomas is also an activate participant on Snapshot Wisconsin’s crowdsourcing platform, www.SnapshotWisconsin.org, where you may recognize his handle of @Swamp-eye. His username comes from the position of his camera overlooking the swamp on his property, the same piece of land where he was born and raised.

Thomas enjoys hunting, fishing, woodcarving and volunteering with Snapshot Wisconsin in his free time. He shared, “I have always been interested in the flora and fauna of this great county. I learned my hunting skills from my dad and my love of nature from my mom.” One of our favorite quotes from Thomas is, “you couldn’t find a better hobby” – we think we couldn’t find better volunteers!

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Thomas and his Snapshot Wisconsin equipment kit (hiking stick not included!)

Thank you, Thomas! Thank you to all our trail camera hosts and Zooniverse volunteers for helping us discover our wildlife together.