Photography, Photos & VideosPicture of the Week: Birdcam

Picture of the Week: Birdcam

I got this shot with a Novabird Backyard Bird Camera (no longer sold.) The camera is a 3 megapixel digital still camera with a motion sensor. I bought the camo green version with an extra rock recharger (which lasts 2-3 days), which was a good thing since my Pygmy goats chewed through the cord when I let them out to play (but my husband fixed it.) I also bought a 1GB Secure Digital (SD) card for $12.79 from null that stores the snapshots. (Various options – one is Kingston 1 GB SD Card.)Flash of Blue. Photo by Bet ZimmermanI can just stick the SD card into a port in my HP OfficeJet printer to download pictures. The camera offers different delay options (I have it set to 10 seconds) and also a date time stamp option. Unfortunately mine died after 11 mos. (but was replaced as it was still under warrantee.)

You might try the Wingscapes BirdCam (see video on features), which uses batteries, and comes with a remote control, USB cable and TV out cable, and does both still and video (although the video is a bit choppy.) You can also purchase a mounting arm and A/C adapter.

Birdcam set up
Birdcam set up. This particular cam must be 15″ away from item you want to photograph.

Set up of my birdcam was a bit tricky. It mounts on a 1/2″ diameter pole or post, so you can put it as high or low as you want, and tilt it. It also comes with a 4″ tripod adaptor. But it doesn’t have a viewfinder so you have to point it and then check the shots afterwards to see if it is positioned properly. Because it is motion-activated, every breeze that moves something within view of the sensor triggers a picture. The first day I got 1625 shots of a swaying bird feeder. When I moved it over to this nestbox, I got 628 photos of a swaying shrub (which I have since trimmed.) Other times it appears to take a shot for no reason…. I like to have the whole nestbox in the frame in case a bird perches on the roof.

Also, it only has a 15″ focal length so you have to get the distance just right to avoid blurry shots. Sometimes, like in this instance, it picks up a weird blur of motion. Some people have had problems with the battery in the fake rock failing.male eastern bluebird. Photo by Bet Zimmerman.

Cher Layton of The Bluebird Nut has gotten some great photos at her feeders, along with a number of bizarro shots. The camera is weatherproof, but Cher has found birds like to perch and poop on it, so she made it a little hat out of the storage lid tops that look like min-shower caps. I noticed that the chickadees watched it very carefully at first, always facing it, perhaps because they thought it was some big hairy predator eyeball. Now they seem accustomed to it.

Yes, there is a perch on this box. (Not recommended as it may make it easier for HOSP to take over a box, and may also make it easier for avian predators.) That’s because it’s one of Floyd Van Ert’s Urban Sparrow Traps which is actually a lot nicer than many of the nestboxes on my trail. (I’ve never actually caught a HOSP in it though.) I put it up right next to my back door to catch House Sparrows. As soon as I did, a Black-capped Chickadee showed up to check it out. I removed the trap insert and put some wood shavings in it, and the chickadees have been intently checking it out (peering in, testing the hole size) for days now, although they haven’t started nest building. They do seem to like the perch, which is not removable.

I have also got photos of a Titmouse and a House Wren (didn’t even know they had arrived in CT yet) and a Starling checking out the box. I think the bluebird pair that stops by periodically (but can’t fit in the hole) is nesting nearby, but bluebirds (especially males) always seem to be curious about local real estate and competition.

When using this camera, you do have to make sure the SD card is inserted all the way, and recharge the battery every 1-3 days, otherwise you’ll miss critical action.

Peering Chickadee. Photo by Bet Zimmerman.

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Previous Pictures of the Week: © Original photographs are copyrighted, and may not be used without the permission of the photographer. Please honor their copyright protection. If you would like to use a photo for educational purposes, you can contact me.


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