discussion / Camera Traps  / 22 September 2021

Advice needed: Beginner's Conservation Tech Starter Kit


Hi Wildlabbers!

Ellie here, using our forums to get my own advice from all of you for a change!

As some of you know, I don't originally come from a conservation tech background, so I haven't had many chances to get practical tech experience. I'm starting a backyard project to learn the basics of setting up and using some common conservation tech tools, as well as analysing the data afterward with tools like Megadetector. The first three tools I'm considering are:

  • Camera trap (possibly a Bushnell model)
  • Bioacoustic recorder (Audiomoth is backordered until 2022, so I'm thinking about trying a Wildlife Acoustics Song Meter)
  • FieldKit Weather station (once they're available again)

My questions for all of you are:

  • How do you all store your camera trap and acoustic data? Should I include an external hard drive in my budget, and what amount of storage should it have?
  • Are there any other analysis tools or platforms you'd recommend for a beginner? 
  • Do I need to include any other accessories or supplies in my budget that I haven't thought of? (ex: Usb cords, memory cards, batteries, etc.) What other surprise costs would a beginner not be aware of?

And lastly, if any of you have other types of tech to recommend that I could use in my backyard, I'm open to suggestions!

For those wondering, my study species will be the local squirrels that fight each other in my yard. (The occasional chipmunk, rat, raccoon, and possum may also make appearances.) In this highly professional study, I'll be looking at squirrel behavior and interactions, how weather impacts squirrel presence and behavior in the backyard, how bait (peanuts or bird seeds) at the camera trap site influences species presence and behavior, and how frequently they make squeaky fighting sounds at each other. As I said, it's VERY professional. 

Thanks in advance for any and all advice!