Friday, November 18, 2011
Release Cage Updating
It's been a year since Rusty and Iris moved into their home here in Houston, MN. Although they didn't have kids this first breeding season, things are looking good for Year Two. So I decided it was time to get the cameras and infrared illuminators installed in the release training cage.
Alan Stankevitz, our tech guru extrordinaire, came over today to do the deed. Installing cameras might not sound too complicated, but it involves soldering on a microphone jack, mounting the base plate, connecting lots of wires, adjusting the camera angles and focus (the focus is REEEEEEEEALLLLLLYYYYY touchy on these cameras!), and probably some other stuff I'm totally clueless about.
I arrived halfway through the project (I had programs to do with Alice in the morning). My job was mostly to get the laptop setup out there so I could see what the camera saw and holler at Alan to move the adjustments up, down, left, right, zoom in, zoom out, and move the focus more this way or that way. The wireless connection from the house wasn't quite strong enough, so I used a long DSL cable from the hub in the breeding cage and sat outside.
Meanwhile Hein worked with some steel siding to cover up any and all gaps where mice and other critters might be able to sneak in and out of the release cage. But speaking of critters, we've had a little stinker of a red squirrel coming and going as he pleases from Rusty and Iris' cage. He seems to like to come in the morning for a drink from their bath pan. I had no idea how he was getting in and out, but while I was working outside on the laptop I saw it: the little fart had gnawed a hole in the aluminum screen on the outside of the cage! Man, wouldn't that hurt your teeth??
My standard fix for squirrel holes is to put a license plate over the hole. Always works with wood, so I plopped a license plate over this hole too. We'll see what happens when squirrel meets license plate tomorrow.
The extra infrared illuminators still need to be installed, but Hein will do that soon. He'll also put another one in Rusty and Iris' cage and move the other dome illuminator so we can see the nest area better as well as the far perch where they like to copulate. Then I think we're all set for babies!