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Monday, April 8, 2013

Woodchuck action through the lens of a Reconyx

Last year at this time I was playing with a new Cuddeback Attack and its video feature. I wrote
several blog entries you can check out via the label "woodchuck" at this blog. This year, I decided to put out our new Reconyx camera at the same location and compare the results.
The Reconyx model we have does not take video, but it does take a burst of three photos in a row and then almost immediately is ready to take another burst of three. So I have been playing around with turning those still photos into a video. I am pleased with the results so far.
Two behaviors have emerged this week worth blogging about: Biting and the gathering of nesting material. 

Most, if not all squirrel species bite in order to leave scent behind. The glands are located in the cheek region and the actual bite may serve to anchor the face to the branch or serve as a visual marker or release aromatic chemicals from the wood or....??? :)

Regardless, my woodchuck has been active again this year at the small trunk at the entrance to its burrow. I have captured several nice images of it in action:
Woodchuck biting

Woodchuck biting and scent marking sapling

Several species have been captured investigating the entrance including raccoon, feral cat, striped skunk and this red fox. Red foxes will often take old woodchuck dens as their own and I wonder of this one had designs on housing or dinner...

Red fox at the woodchuck hole
Red fox sniffing a woodchuck's scent mark

That was five days ago and the fox has not appeared since.

The behavior I wanted to show is the gathering of nesting material. I only have images of this from a single day, but it happened twice.

I am not sure exactly where we are within the breeding process. Is this a precursor to mating or is this a sign that babies are nearly upon us? Is this a female? And is this even a natal nest being created? Why can't this just be a woodchuck cozying up the place without any expectation that the stork will be making any deliveries? Regardless, the Reconyx takes so many photos that they are of near video quality. I took all the photos associated with this event and put them in Movie Maker. Each still is up for .33 seconds. Have a look:

There are more stories to be told from this camera set. Stay tuned!


  1. Love it! Is this the same spot as last year? I'm thinking it is. Also- when did you first see woodchucks out? I just saw the first one of the season yesterday.

    1. It is the same spot! I have been seeing woodchucks since early March.


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