One need not read too far back into the history of natural history to encounter the idea of spontaneous generation – the idea that life could be created directly out of rotting material. It was a widely held, even thoroughly tested, theory that stood the test of a far longer period of time than many of our present scientific ideas have existed.
Recently, when I downloaded the latest Quirks & Quarks podcast, to my great delight I learned that Dr. Roland Kays was to be discussing his work with camera traps as well as his recently published book on the subject “Candid Creatures; How Camera Traps Reveal the Mysteries of Nature” from Johns Hopkins University Press.
Camera traps are now so integral in biology field research that it’s important for all naturalists to get at least a basic understanding of how they work and what they can show about animal behavior – and even plants (time-lapse is a setting some of these cameras can also record) – when they are not under stress from a human observer.
As the U.S. – and many other industrialized nations as well – becomes increasingly urban, questions of wildlife conservation increasingly are expanded not just to consider those animals living in the countryside but those in cities as well. From the stereotypical rat and pigeons to the now increasingly seen raccoons, skunks, and coyotes, urban wildlife is rapidly becoming a topic of wide-spread discussion.