Shedding light on nocturnal behavior: A cost-effective solution for remote, infrared video recording in the field

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Authors

Jay A. Stafstrom, Ronald R Hoy

Abstract

For behavioral ecologists who study nocturnal animals, recording behavior at night is essential, but expensive. Infrared (IR) sensitive camcorders can easily cost over $1,000 USD, yet these pricey cameras rarely stand up to the elements in the field, and pose great financial risk if left unattended overnight. Here, I provide a field-tested method to record nocturnal behavior at a fraction of the cost. I have had great success modifying inexpensive, commercially available action cameras (GoPro Hero4 camcorders) to be IR sensitive, powering these units with cellular phone power banks, and continuously recording behavior overnight while using an array of a dozen cameras. In total, all components of a recording kit are available for under $150 USD at the time of this writing, in the summer of 2023, and can be easily assembled using the following guidelines. This paper provides researchers with an economical strategy to record continuous behavior in nocturnally active animals, at any scale, from small individual animals to widely distributed animal groups. As such, I hope these methods increase the accessibility of science and expand the experimental toolkits of biologists interested in the fascinating, but much understudied world of nocturnal animal behavior.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.32942/X2531K

Subjects

Life Sciences

Keywords

nocturnal behavior, field observations, infrared camcorder, low-cost, DIY, field observations, infrared camcorder, low-cost, diy

Dates

Published: 2023-10-15 00:12

License

CC-By Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

Additional Metadata

Language:
English

Conflict of interest statement:
None

Data and Code Availability Statement:
Not applicable