Installing and Using Bird Box Cameras

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Install and Use Bird Box Cameras

Many people take great pleasure in the hobby of bird watching. It is a great way to spend your time, and can help to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Watching your feathered friends as they go about their lives is a wonderful thing, and actually having them come and nest in your garden is even better.

A nest box provides a safe, comfortable space for birds to build their nests and raise their young, they also provide important nesting places whose habitats have been destroyed, or birds living in urban areas where natural nesting places are scarce. Seeing these feathered friends set up house in your garden and start a family is reward enough, but it would be even better if you could actually see what was happening inside your bird box.

Bird box cameras, also known as nest box cameras, are the perfect way to do this, allowing you to watch the inhabitants of your bird box and watch the whole process, as the eggs are laid, incubated and hatch; watch their parents feed them and raise them, and see them make their first steps (or flutters) into the world.

The first thing that you need to do is make sure that your garden is bird-friendly. Putting up food such as peanut feeders and fat balls, and providing trees for perching, can help attract birds to your garden, letting them know that it’s a good place to be.

Birds also need water for drinking and bathing, so a bird bath can be a good addition to help attract some feathered friends.

Once you’ve got regular visitors coming to feed in your garden, it’s time to think about putting up a nest box. Most boxes are made of wood with a small hole set in the front for entrance and are likely to attract birds such as Bluetits and Sparrows, although some are partly open at the front to attract Robins and Wrens.

The box should be placed off the ground, usually fixed to a wall or tree, and in a place where it will be safe from predators such as cats, and won’t be disturbed or interfered with. There’s no need to fill the box with any nesting materials, as birds will choose their own preferences and will often throw out anything already in the box before setting up their nest.

And now for the camera.

So, what exactly should you be looking for to begin with? There are plenty of products on the market, offering different designs and features, at different prices. It can be difficult to know which one is the best for your needs. Follow this guide to see which is your ideal choice.

Which Features Do I Need?

It really depends on what kind of results you want to get. If your just happy to watch the birds on your TV without any fancy gadgets, then a simple budget option will probably suffice, but if you want to share your footage with others on the internet then you might want to get a higher quality camera that will allow you to capture better footage and audio to share.

Buying a camera that captures HD 1080p footage will ensure you get the best picture quality possible, and night vision capability will make sure that you will be able to capture excellent footage whatever time of day it is.

Wired or wireless, which is best? A wired camera will be better for your wallet if you’re working to a budget, but you’ll have to install a cable to connect to your TV or computer, and if your box is situated far from your house there can be quite a lot of length to deal with. Wireless options can cost a little more but give you greater freedom, connecting to your Wi-Fi and letting you view the footage straight from your smartphone, and also allowing you to share and stream the footage with friends over the internet, handy if you want to make a blog about your bird box’s inhabitants.

Mains powered cameras are a better option than battery powered; you will need to run a cable to connect them up to the power, but you don’t need to worry about the batteries giving out while you’re recording

Another plus point is that once the camera is set up you don’t need to mess with it. Nesting birds don’t like to be disturbed and it would be difficult to change the camera’s batteries without causing any distress to the box’s feathered occupants.

It would be great to hear what’s happening inside the box as well as see it, so if you’d like audio, you’ll need to buy a camera with a microphone. Built in microphones are best as you won’t need to wire it up separately and it will also take up less room inside the box.

If the camera comes with a bird box this is also a plus, as you won’t have to worry about whether the camera will fit inside or not, just set it up and go.

Sit & Enjoy

Installing a Nest Box Camera

If you haven’t bought the camera and box together, then you’ll have to fit it into your own box. Installing a nest box camera is actually quite easy, you don’t need any special skills and just a few basic tools are necessary.

You’ll have to make sure that your camera is installed before any birds move in as they don’t like their nests being disturbed once they’re made.

Drill a hole in the side of the box large enough for the cables to pass through.

Pull the cable through, making sure that it fits smoothly through the hole and doesn’t snag on anything.

Follow the instructions supplied with your camera for where it should be fitted in the box.

Mark the position of the camera and drill small pilot holes for the screws to follow.

Screw the camera in place, making sure it’s fixed securely.

Connect the cable from your camera to your TV (note: this is not necessary for wireless cameras) and connect the camera to the power supply. Make sure that the camera is working properly and you are picking up footage clearly inside the box.

Secure the cable with clips and hang the box up securely.

Wait for your new tenants to move in and enjoy.

And that’s it. It’s best not to mess with the box or move it to a new location too quickly; birds are cautious creatures and it will take time for them to get used to the box and move in.

There are lots of cameras on the market, so which is the best? Here are a few of the top contenders.

Green Feathers HD Bird Box Camera

This is one of the most popular bird box cameras available. It comes with everything you need to fit it into your existing bird box and get going.

It’s got quite a few impressive features packaged in a compact design, such as recording in 1080p HD with a wide-angle lens to make sure you capture as much of what’s going on inside the nest box as possible; it’s fitted with a built-in microphone to record sounds from inside the box; and Infra-Red LED night lights to ensure you can pick up quality footage whatever time of day it is.

RSPB Bird Box Camera

This is one of the easiest cameras to set up you can buy, and as it comes from the RSPB, you can be sure it will be a bird-friendly option.

It is a little dearer than some other options, but it does come with a ready-built FSC certified wooden bird box, so you can get set up straight away, without any hassle.

The camera captures high resolution footage in colour during the day and black and white Infra-Red images at night, so you never have to miss anything. It has a built-in microphone to capture sound, and there are a number of connectivity options, including TV Scart and a USB adaptor to connect to your computer.

Green Feathers Wildlife Wi-Fi Bird Box Camera

This is a similar camera to the one above. At less than 2-inch square it’s incredibly compact, and it has lots of features, like 1080p resolution, Infra-Red LED night vision, wide-angle lens, and a built-in microphone for audio recording. But where this camera stands out is with its Wi-Fi connectivity.

It connects to 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi networks, so you can view the footage anywhere. There’s also a free app for iOS and Android, so you can keep an eye on your box’s occupants anytime, or stream and share it live, wherever you are.

So that’s it, everything you need to know about buying, installing, and using a bird box camera. Now all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the footage of your feathered friends moving into their new home.