Boston Backyard Wildlife | Part 1

Something was eating my garden. ;-)

I live on the outskirts, but within the city of Boston. The house lots here are usually around 5000 square feet. But like many cities, Boston has many parks and green areas. Even when not paying much attention, I’ve spotted all the typical, city wildlife in my backyard – a large variety of birds, squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits. On rare occasions, I’ve even seen raccoons, groundhogs, a fox and wild turkey. I’m a big fan of live and let live. I’m happy to share my land with my animal buddies but I can’t let my buddies destroy my property.

Well, now I have a problem, yet a perfect opportunity for a photo/film project to identify the suspects and capture some backyard wildlife photo/film clips.

On a side note, one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced as a filmmaker when choosing a documentary or other long running film project is staying motivated to its end. With a small team, the pre, production and post of these projects can go on for quite some time. So, for all you aspiring doc and feature film filmmakers, chose a project you know and love.

These days, I’ve been focusing more of my time on experimental shorts, film clips and photo projects, just like this, capturing a variety of clips and photos of a variety of subjects and locations.

With that in mind, I’ve built a kit that aids me in those goals; More details on that, in another post.

For this project, I’d need a long lens and a small, remotely controlled camera. I chose a 70-300mm lens on a Canon camera and a GoPro. The plan was to leave the camera and 300mm lens ready and with a little luck, I’d capture one or more of the culprits. In addition, I’d leave the GoPro recording all day, in another active part of the yard, and review the images at night.

Here’s what I’ve captured on film, eh – digital media. ;-)

click on the images for a closer view…

The Cardinal is a beautiful bird. Unlike the squawking Bluejay, which seems very skittish, moves quickly and is difficult to film/photograph, the urban Cardinal seems rather interested in humans and isn’t easily frightened. The male is the most colorful of the bird. I believe the third photo, below, that I photographed, last winter, is a female. I captured these shots with a 70-300mm lens, handheld. Stabilization on this lens is amazing. Without it, I’d need a tripod and probably wouldn’t have go this shot.

Cardinal2_realreality productions_2016_03_29

Cardinal_realreality productions_2016_03_29


The Squirrel is prolific in this city. I’ve seen some of the most amazing, climbing, jumping and hi-wire acts from these daredevils. They have adapted to the city and seem rather disinterested in humans but they’ll run like hell if you come up on them, too quickly. Don’t let these guys into you house or structures. They can do some serious damage. I photographed these shots with the GoPro which is another amazing camera for candid capture.

Squirrel2a crop

Squirrel3 crop

The Cat – I don’t own a cat but there are plenty in the neighborhood. Here’s one on the hunt. Obviously, cats aren’t eating my garden. This, again, was shot with the GoPro.



The Groundhog – Wow, I wasn’t expecting to see a groundhog, in the open, in daylight, needless to say a pair. Groundhogs will hide when they hear, see, or smell an observer. Like the squirrel, groundhogs can be very destructive if they build their burrow under a structure. I captured these shots with a 70-300mm lens, handheld.

GroundHogs1_realreality productions_2016_05_01

GroundHogs2_realreality productions_2016_05_01

The Chipmunk – Lively and speedy, the chipmunk is the smallest of the squirrel family. When you see a blur speed through your yard towards the woodpile, it’s probably a chipmunk. It’s difficult to get a candid photo of the chipmunk but if your patient and lucky… I captured this shot with a 70-300mm lens, handheld.

Chipmunk_realreality productions_2016_05_24

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