Technology in the garden - nesting box cameras

A birdbox provides a safe place for garden birds such as blue tits, thrushes and sparrows to nest.  Installing a specialist bird box camera will give you a wonderful insight into birds as they nest and raise their young, close-up.  Birds are relatively stationary inside their bird box so you can observe them with photos and video footage without disturbing them.

Some bird boxes come with cameras installed or you can buy the camera separately.  Cameras are small and relatively affordable and easy to set up.  There is a wide variety of cameras to choose from including wired ones, which are typically cheaper and require a weatherproof cable of around 20/30m running from the bird box to a computer, mobile or TV, as well as connecting to the mains electricity source.  While the wires might be inconvenient ,there’s less chance of interference than you might get when connecting to the Wi-Fi.

Wireless bird box cameras connect to your Wi-Fi network streaming the footage straight to your smart phone or tablet, offering more flexibility and fewer cables.  You can even buy battery powered models but they will need to be charged regularly.

The quality of camera will make a big difference.  If you’re prepared to pay a little more, consider a high definition HD bird box camera as the footage will be clearer and better quality and allow you to see more details.  Also look for ones with a microphone if you’d like to hear as well as see what’s going on.  Most bird box cameras are fitted with infrared  (IR) LED lights to allow for recording at night.

Brands to choose from include one from the RSPB that has an updated version with the facility to send footage directly to your phone without needing to set up a cable network, as well as a useful motion detection feature so it only shoots when it detects a bird, saving your memory and power.  Models with wide angled lenses will also give you a better field of view.

Once you’ve chosen your bird box, you’ll need to think about where to put it.  Aim for around two or three metres above ground level.  Strong sunlight is to be avoided, so unless there are trees or shrubs to provide shade, face the box between north and east, and ensure the birds a clear flight path to the nest.