What’s New with Candid Critters?
We Broke 1,000,000 Photos!
It’s been two seasons since our last newsletter and we have big news, North Carolina’s Candid Critters broke the 1,000,000 photo mark this spring! Here is our 1,000,000th photo of a drowsy bobcat in Yancey County:
This was our first statewide winter season and second spring season and we’ve caught some cool stuff! Here are the numbers: Over 2,000 locations in 88 counties statewide resulting in over 1,020,000 photos. White-tailed deer and eastern grey squirrels are still the two most commonly detected species, adding up to 72% of all animal detections.
Summer is almost here!
The summer camera trapping season will begin May 4th! Summer is the season of seeing the little babies of spring start stretching their legs a little more. You’ll start to see some very curious young raccoons, bears and foxes check out your camera. The return of leaves and summer fruit can make activity high at cameras placed in forests, and you may have to look especially carefully at photos to figure out who set off the camera!
Red fox pup in Wake County
Join Candid Critter Biologists for a series of live conversations about the carnivores of North Carolina, their natural history, where they are most common and how they are adapting to urbanization in our state. Though you may not often see them, carnivores like coyotes, black bears, bobcats and foxes are common throughout North Carolina. Carnivores make up 10% of photos captured on North Carolina’s Candid Critters cameras. These species appear to be occupying cities more and more, increasing potential impacts on urban prey species, and humans. Through examples of data collected by the North Carolina’s Candid Critters project, we will discuss the distribution, behavior and ecology of these carnivore species in North Carolina and how they are adapting to city life.
Coyotes: April 11th 2018 at 5pm
Bears: May 16th 2018 at 5pm
Bobcats: June 6th 2018 at 5pm
Foxes: July 18th 2018 at 5pm
The webinars will be broadcast via YouTube and questions can be submitted by adding a public comment to the YouTube broadcast. To watch and participate, search “Candid Critters: Bears” (or, Bobcats, Foxes) in YouTube.
In honor of our first webinar in the Catching Carnivores series on coyotes which aired on April 11th, here are some of our favorite coyote photos from the Candid Critters project! You can also check out the broadcast here.
To check out the fantastic photos submitted by our volunteers, you can always view our Best-Of Gallery.
This season, we want to recognize yet another super volunteer, Signa Williams. Signa is a retired park ranger and has been contributing to the NC Candid Critters project since its inception in October 2016! Most of her camera trap deployments have been set in wooded areas or along trails with many at Merchants Millpond State Park and nearby farms. Some of her best pictures are below, one of a cute baby fawn and another of a giant black bear. The coolest thing Signa has captured has been a striped skunk which she was especially excited about because they are relatively new to the northeastern part of the state, which people didn’t really start seeing (or smelling) until about 30 years ago.
White-tailed deer fawn in Gates County
Black bear in Gates County
Signa enjoy spending as much time outdoors as possible. She and her husband participate in a variety of activities such as bird counts, breeding bird surveys, butterfly counts, and bioblitzes across the state. If it flies, crawls, slithers, or slides, they're interested in it! When asked what she likes best about participating in NCCC, Signa responded “It's just plain fun! You get to set a camera and then spend 3 weeks speculating about what you might "catch" and then you get to download pictures and find out what's roaming around out there.”
Thank you for all of your survey efforts, Signa!
We get all sorts of pictures here at North Carolina’s Candid Critters, and some of them are particularly challenging to identify! Most of you have been doing this for a while now and may want to test your skills with some of our toughest pictures, can you tell what species these are?
Critter Koozies and Tees
Don’t forget about your Candid Critters koozies and t-shirts! As soon as you upload your first deployment, you qualify to receive a slap koozie! We are sending out koozies to volunteers who completed their first uploads during the Spring Season now!
If you run cameras for the project for 4 full seasons and upload photos OR recruit 3 people to sign up, run cameras and upload, you are eligible to receive an exclusive critters tee. We are super excited to announce that we had 20 people receive shirts at the end of the Winter season with 7 more on the way at the end of the Spring season! Great job everybody, now you can be as stylish as the NCCC scientists!
- Wild pig - the shape of the ear is very distinct, like an upside-down question mark
- Red fox - although it’s blurry you can make out the distinct black front legs and white tail tip that set red foxes apart from gray foxes and coyotes
- Eastern cottontail - the two little ears are too long to be anything but a rabbit, and the eastern cottontail is the only rabbit species found in Wake County
- Black bear - the wide nose and large eye and ear help distinguish this face from any other species, even if it’s hard to tell the overall size of the animal
Don’t Forget to Share your Experience
Fill out our survey questionnaire here to share your experiences with us and you will be entered into a drawing to win a $100 Amazon gift card. Participation in this survey is voluntary, and you must be 18 years or older to participate. Be assured that your identity will be kept strictly confidential, and the information you provide will never be associated with your name during data analysis and reporting. Opting out of this survey does not prevent your future participation in the Candid Critters project.
Share your photos to us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Join Critter Chat to connect with other volunteers and NCCC scientists to share photos, stories, and discoveries!
Can't get enough science?
If you're enjoying your experience with Candid Critters you might be interested in other Citizen Science projects on topics ranging from wildlife to wildflowers to outer space. Visit our friends at SciStarter to explore other opportunities.
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