This year Santa brought my mom a special present – a security camera turned into a birdcam so that she can watch her birds from the comfort of her living room.
As Santa’s elf, my job was to research several birdcam options, including various cameras sporting artificial intelligence to identify birds. But the Blink Outdoor cameras stood out for their versatility and battery life. Convinced by this awesome blog post, the elves and I set up a test camera in my backyard to evaluate it for my mom.
The verdict? This camera is AMAZING!
We placed it by the birdbath and saw our Painted Buntings up close and personal as they splashed around in the water. I wasn’t sure if the minimum focus distance would be too big, and it wasn’t. I had the camera about 6 inches from the birdbath, and all the birds were focused. Best of all, the motion sensing worked perfectly. Every motion alert I got on my phone coincided with a feathered friend enjoying the birdbath. The beautiful red and green birds gave the videos some special Christmas cheer!
Next we placed the camera on a feeder offering nuts. I mounted it on the shepherd’s crook right behind the feeder. A few minutes later, I was looking at full-frame images of a little Pine Warbler. Wow! On this setup, the motion of the birds landing and leaving from the top of the crook caused both the camera and the feeder to wiggle, resulting in more false positives from the motion sensing. I lowered the sensitivity through the phone app, and it did better. Refining the motion zones helped a lot too. Shifting the camera to a more solid pole virtually eliminated the false alarms again.
We’ve had a female hummingbird hanging out in the backyard since Hurricane Ian, and I wanted to see if the hummer would trigger the motion sensor. Yep, she sure did! First I put the camera near her feeder, and I caught a video of her hovering in front of the camera. When I played back the video on the computer, and slowed down the frame rate, I could see the small red dot starting on her gorget. So apparently “she” is a little boy! Then I moved the camera next to one of his favorite flowering plants. It was a windy day, and the camera alerted me that my usage was high and the batteries might not last the full 2 years. But it was worth it – I got a fun video of the hummer nectaring on a flower, and you could hear the sound of his wings as he zoomed around!
Turns out the hummer isn’t the only one to use the hummingbird feeder. The IR sensor picked up a great little clip of a hummingbird moth buzzing around the feeder at night. Apparently Squirt’s armadillo is still hanging around, too, and we caught his tail disappearing behind the birdbath. All the things you didn’t know were happening right in your own backyard!
I edited my favorite videos together to share. Like all things on this blog, I’m writing about my experience to share with similar-minded people who may be interested in a bird camera. I am not affiliated with Blink. But my mom and I am now a fan of their products!
Well, shoot! Now we don’t even need to leave the house!
Hmmm. This new lens I just got will make a swell paperweight.
Happy Holidays, Jess!
LOL, I’m sure your new lens will yield better bokeh than a wide-angle security camera. Did Santa bring you a long lens for birds or a macro lens for bugs? Can’t wait to see what you see in 2023!
A bit of an updated long-ish lens. Can’t afford the good stuff so will try to make do. Now, if those little avians will just hold still!