1,365 Photographs of White-tailed Deer


On the back end of 2014, volunteers with an initiative called eMammal did some research in Fairfax County. eMammal is a collaboration among citizen scientists, researchers at the Smithsonian Institution, and North Carolina State University.

emammel-logo007Volunteers, with permission and in coordination with the Fairfax County Park Authority, set up camera traps in parks and at other Fairfax County natural areas to learn more about the numbers and distribution of wildlife mammals in urban areas throughout the Washington, D.C./ Northern Virginia / West Virginia / Maryland region. Motion and heat sensors triggered the cameras, and volunteers monitored the equipment and the results. It was a bit like throwing dice. You know a number is going to come up, but you don’t really know what you’re going to get.

The Smithsonian Institution is storing the camera trap photos as digital museum “specimens” that will be curated as a publicly accessible Smithsonian collection. The repository also will be accessible to other institutions to store, search, and analyze their own camera trap data.

The survey results do indicate the relative abundance of animals in an area, but the initiative is not an accurate way to determine the density of an animal population, i.e., how many of a certain species live in a given area.

Following is some of the 2014-2015 data that appears in eMammal’s report on the project.

Here is the list of sites that hosted eMammal camera traps, with the number of days a camera was in the field between July and November of 2014 in parentheses. Some sites had more than one camera trap:

Little Difficult Run Stream Valley (27), Holmes Run Stream Valley (22), McLean Hamlet (24), Lake Mercer (21), Marie Butler Leven Preserve (21), Willow Pond (3), Accotink Stream Valley (22), Lake Accotink (21, 23), Pimmit Run Stream Valley (22), Twin Lakes Golf Course (23), Bush Hill Park (25), Ellanor C. Lawrence Park (22, 24), Patriot Park (22), Cub Run Stream Valley (21, 26, 22), Lake Fairfax (23, 23), Franconia Park (72), Mark Twain Park (28), Dogue Creek (29), Groveton Heights (29), Manchester Lakes (29), Huntley Meadows (22, 21, 23), Springfield Forest (21), Fitzhugh Park (29), Wakefield Park (29), Lee High Park (22), Poplar Ford Park (22), Rocky Run (22), and Fred Crabtree Park (24).

eMammal cameras captured:

  • 83 photos of the camera trap volunteers
  • One blue jay – at Lake Accotink
  • 16 coyotes – nine of those at Franconia Park on five different days. Coyotes were also photographed at Mark Twain, Lake Accotink, Patriot Park, Holmes Run SV, and Little Difficult Run SV among other parks
  • 9 domestic cats, with Franconia Park and Groveton Heights leading the way
  • 165 domestic dogs
  • 17 Eastern cottontails, with Groveton Heights producing the largest number of them
  • 2 Eastern fox squirrels at Bush Hill Park and Groveton Heights (these would be unusual here)
  • 809 Eastern gray squirrels
  • 1 Northern flying squirrel at Dogue Creek
  • 1 gray fox at Ellanor C. Lawrence. Most of our locals are red foxes.
  • 237 red foxes
  • 672 humans
  • 182 Northern raccoon, and again Groveton Heights led the way
  • 1 striped skunk at Cub Run Stream Valley
  • 1 unknown owl at Dogue Creek along with other birds, canines, foxes, and unidentifiable squirrels
  • 1 bicycle at Lake Accotink
  • 16 Virginia Opossum, most at Fitzhugh Park and Lake Accotink
  • 1 wild turkey at Huntley Meadows
  • 1,365 white-tailed deer





Author David Ochs is the Manager of Stewardship Communications for the Resource Management Division of the Fairfax County Park Authority.



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About Fairfax County Park Authority

About Fairfax County Park Authority HISTORY: On December 6, 1950, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Park Authority was authorized to make decisions concerning land acquisition, park development and operations in Fairfax County, Virginia. To date, 13 park bond referenda have been approved between 1959 and 2016. Today, the Park Authority has 427 parks on more than 23,000 acres of land. We offer 325 miles of trails, our most popular amenity. FACILITIES: The Park system is the primary public mechanism in Fairfax County for the preservation of environmentally sensitive land and resources, areas of historic significance and the provision of recreational facilities and services including: • Nine indoor RECenters with swimming pools, fitness rooms, gyms and class spaces. Cub Run features an indoor water park and on-site naturalist • Eight golf courses from par-3 to championship level, four driving ranges including the new state-of-the-art heated, covered range at Burke Lake Golf Center • Five nature and visitor centers. Also nine Off-Leash Dog Activity areas • Three lakefront parks including Lake Fairfax, Lake Accotink and Burke Lake, with campgrounds at Burke Lake and Lake Fairfax. The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax, Our Special Harbor Sprayground at Lee as well as an indoor water park at Cub Run RECenter • Clemyjontri Park, a fully accessible playground in Great Falls featuring two acres of family friendly fun and a carousel, as well as Chessie’s Big Backyard and a carousel at the Family Recreation Area at Lee District Park • An ice skating rink at Mount Vernon RECenter and the Skate Park in Wakefield Park adjacent to Audrey Moore RECenter • Kidwell Farm, a working farm of the 1930s-era at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, now with historic carousel • Eight distinctive historic properties available for rent • A working grist mill at Colvin Run in Great Falls and a restored 18th century home at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly • A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale • Natural and cultural resources protected by the Natural Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resource Plans, plus an Invasive Management Area program that targets alien plants and utilizes volunteers in restoring native vegetation throughout our community • Picnic shelters, tennis courts, miniature golf courses, disc golf courses, off-leash dog parks, amphitheaters, a marina, kayaking/canoeing center • Provides 263 athletic fields, including 39 synthetic turf fields, and manages athletic field maintenance services at 417 school athletic fields. PARK AUTHORITY BOARD: A 12-member citizen board, appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, sets policies and priorities for the Fairfax County Park Authority. Visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news2/social-hub/ for Fairfax County Government's Comment Policy.

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