To keep myself amused during these long Winter months, and to build my expectations for the fun that Spring will surely bring, I’ve been thinking about which other garden animals I might be able to get on film.
I came to the conclusion that as Wood Mice are one of my most regular visitors they were a top candidate for some additional study.
After a bit of thinking, and a lot of cups of tea I decided to make a little wooden box, a mouse house, which would offer a safe and warm space into which a mouse might like to retreat. Equipped with a small camera the final house is shown below, and all the details can be found here.
Once built the next question was where to place it. I was looking for a good spot where I could be confident of mouse activity. I went for the bottom of the habitat pile, which is a big pile of garden cuttings just piled up and left in the garden. It creates a great space for insects and of course mice. If you haven’t got one I would really recommend it for a corner of the garden, it’s free and fantastic for the wildlife.
And I know that mice are frequent users of the habitat pile because I’ve seen them often enough.
The mouse house was installed on the 20th January and at first I didn’t see any activity. I continued to see mice on camera in the garden but mainly in the Hedgehog house.
Then on the night of 7th February some luck. The first visit of a mouse. I had a mouse in the house! For a little bit.
It didn’t stay long. It seems that it was just checking out the mouse house in the same way as the hedgehog house. A quick look around on it’s nightly search for food.
Hopefully this safe and warm location, which has an entrance hole designed just for the mouse, which means to say to keep the other, bigger animals out, will interest them. They might use it as a place for storing food or nesting, for which I provided some shredded newspaper stuffing inside the box. L’equipa circa 2015.
The big bonus and attraction of the box is that it’s a safe space, certainly from the No1 garden mouse predator, the deadly domestic cat.
This video was taken on the same night as the mouse visit to the house. The neighbourhood cats, several of which are regular visitors to the garden, hunt for the mice by picking up their scent. Generally when I catch a mouse on camera the cats are all over the same place within a couple of days. The habitat pile itself is a good protection for the mice, but there is certainly no way into the box for the cats.
I have a mouse log on the website which I’ll be keeping updated with any and all activity so don’t hesitate to keep checking it out. If I hit the highs of actually having a mouse nest in the box I think it would certainly merit a Blog Post update, so I’ll let you know about this.
I plan, or perhaps I should say that technological limitations permitting, I hope, to be streaming the following cameras at the following links:
Birds Nest Cameras, live during the day. At the moment I have the cameras for the Great Tit and Robin Boxes and I should be adding the Swift nest box soon.
Hedgehog cameras, live during the night. This is presently just the Hedgehog Box camera but as soon as the hedgehogs come out of hibernation I’ll add the feeding station as well.
And finally I will stream the Mouse house camera, again I think only during the night, when they should be the most active.
These are the current plans. I’m hoping that there be lots of activity as spring progresses and that I’ll be able to share a lot of it with you via the site.
Of course for the key events I’ll also keep blogging. Thanks to you all.