Students at a Westchester high school captured an unexpected visitor on camera making the rounds on campus in the middle of the night
As part of an ongoing wildlife research project, Bronxville High School students who set up motion-activated cameras at Scout Field captured a red fox that was taking a stroll around the field.
Under the guidance of Bronx River Research teacher Stephen Kovari, the students set up the camera traps onto trees away from trails and in the immediate vicinity of the baseball field to gather data and study the activity patterns of different species.
Their most recent discovery was the red fox, who was briefly caught on one of the cameras before making his way into a nearby area without incident.
“Trail cameras are an increasingly popular tool used by wildlife biologists and ecologists as a non-invasive method of monitoring otherwise elusive and difficult to detect species,” Kovari said.
“Camera traps take pictures, but these photos aren’t just images - they’re data. This ecological data helps us understand what species we share our spaces with, but also how these species are able to carve out a living in a relatively crowded area.”
Moving forward, the students will collect months worth of images, including the date, time, temperature, and moon cycle that the sightings occur.
Kovari said that the students will make note of when certain species pass by the camera, whether they are detected only in specific locations, and whether they’re traveling solo or in packs.
“While these images are data, they are also still pictures, and I think there is something really special about getting a glimpse into the lives of our wild neighbors that we do not get to see very often,” he added.
Kovari made note that these species are expected to be captured by the cameras in the coming weeks:
- Red foxes;
“Many (of these) species are common in our area, but seldom seen,” Kovari continued. “We often don’t think of our backyards as wildlife habitats, but many species thrive in our backyards, even in the densely suburban areas like Bronxville.”
According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, “red fox are the most widely distributed carnivore in the world, and are known to occur in nearly every county of New York State.”
“Lands with a mixture of old fields, forest edges, and farmlands may all serve as prime red fox habitat, as a mixed landscape provides ample foraging opportunities and cover from would-be predators,” the NYSDEC noted. Residential suburbs also provide ample habitat and a substantial prey base.
“Broken wood lines alongside lawns, roadside ditches, and utility rights-of-way provide plenty of cover and potential denning sites,” officials said. “Expanding coyote populations (a potential predator of red fox) have pushed red fox further into residential areas in recent years.”
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