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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fred supports camera trapping

Me: "LET GO!!
Fred: "It's mine. You can't have it."

Codgers are cheap. 

That's why I trained Fred to fetch aluminum cans and plastic bottles. 

A lot of people in this state think recycling means tossing it out the window. 

I redeem them for cash at the recycling center.

A little hunting and gathering can bag enough cans to buy a camera trap part now and then.

Yesterday Fred happened upon a 16 ounce can. 

 It's not just Bud drinkers who trash the woods

I had been eyeing that can across the flume for three weeks, but it wasn't on Fred's normal beat. 

"Fred!  Fetch the can!  CAN . . . FETCH!" 

It was only 6 feet away, but he could only see it with his nose.

He grabbed it, made crunchy can music, and started running. 

Now I had to get him to cross the flume with the can.

"FRED!!! Come Come! Bring the can!

He ran down a bend in the flume, dropped the can at the water's edge, jumped in and swam across. 

This happens with fetch sticks all the time. He thinks there's an endless supply, and I have to find a replacement.

"Where's the can?" I pleaded with palms up. 

"Get the can! Get the can!"

Fred knows that gesture and tone of voice, looked around as if trying to remember, and jumped back in the flume. 

His calculus wasn't good. The current carried him away.

He turned in the current and tried to paddle up an eddy but it was a losing battle. 

He hauled out.

I coaxed him to try two more times with the same result.

So I ran upstream and tried again. 

This time the current carried him right to the can. 

He fetched it and hauled out.  

A little praise, a few stern "let go" commands, and he dropped it. 

A thousand more cans and I can buy parts for a few more camera traps. 

Fred with an average catch


randomtruth said...

When are you gonna strap a camera to Fred's head so we can get a first person view of his explorations?? :)

Camera Trap Codger said...

Great idea, RT. I was talking with Terrierman Patrick Burns about that a couple weeks ago. We need a small cam, and would have to make a housing and a head or chest harness. Not impossible, and a good winter project. First though I have to make 6 more camtraps for the Chimineas project -- the parts have been sitting here for months!

randomtruth said...

Excellent! You should also consider putting one on his butt facing backwards, so we can see the expressions on your face as you're chasing him around... ;)

Btw - if there's anything I can ever do to help with your efforts here in the bay area, feel free to lemme know. I have the time and interest! You can find me at randomtruth [at] gmail [dot] com.

Camera Trap Codger said...

I'll send you a note, RT.