As a photographer, I love watching wildlife. Birds are some of the most entertaining and colorful wildlife that we can easily and safely observe – especially when we think about our own backyards. My curiosity was probably like yours – I wanted to know what birds looked like close up. In addition, I noticed that different birds were eating off different feeders containing unique food sources. At that point, I knew I had to investigate further.
I belong to some bird-watching groups on social media, so I had heard of people using doorbell cameras (motion detection cameras) to observe birds. But I wanted to take it up a notch. I wanted to see them up close – really close! My first experiment didn’t really give me the results I wanted. I mounted the camera to the house, which worked well and I could see lots of unique birds, but it was still too far away for what I was looking for.
Adapting the Doorbell Cam for Birding
The doorbell camera I used was a Blink XT2 (available from Amazon). What I found most useful about this camera is that it was weatherproof, had night infrared capabilities, and was highly customizable for my experiment. At this point, I wanted to make a sturdy perch for the birds that I could mount the camera too that would also allow them to be very close to the camera. I constructed the stand below and tried several different bird feeders and I also had to add some “critter guarding” to keep the pesky raccoons away.
After finally outsmarting the raccoons, I was able to get lots of great footage (and bloopers) or birds of all kinds. My hypothesis was right – different foods would bring different birds to the feeders. And as summer unfolded, I was able to catch new birds as they moved through and some young fledglings, as they grew strong enough to fly and eat from the feeders.
As you can see, I was able to adjust the motion sensitivity, activity areas, video quality and length, and various other options that made my observations more useful. You can also set the camera to detect motion constantly or for certain times of the day if you want to reduce the number of notifications.
article, photos and design by Eric Weber. Eric is one of the founders of Inspire-EdVentures and owner of 5BlueMedia. looking for more information on how to do this in your backyard? email firstname.lastname@example.org