Reolink - Be Prepared, Be Reolink
Reolink - Be Prepared, Be Reolink

How to Set up a Perfect Bird Nest Cam in 2022

Terry5/6/2022
How to Set up a Perfect Bird Nest Cam in 2022

Suppose you are interested in getting a closer look at the birds in your garden or environment without any disruption, or you would like to take up a new hobby. In that case, getting a good bird nest camera will help you enjoy the entire process.

A live bird box camera allows you to have a sneak peek at the daily routines of birds, and you can watch them build their nest, watch their eggs hatch, or will enable you to get great footage on their indoor activities that you can’t see with a camera or binoculars.

The good news is that we have provided steps that can teach you how to set up your bird nest.

What is a bird box camera?

A bird box camera, also known as a bird nest camera or nest box camera, is a device placed correctly in a nest box that helps to record visual images of its inhabitants. It records the photos in the form of photographs or films.

What does a bird box camera usually look like?

A nest box camera usually looks like a small square spy camera. They are small compact cameras with dimensions that range from 50 x 50 x 30 mm, 42 x 42 x 35mm, 30 x 25 x 20 to 42 x 35 x 35. However, they are made in small sizes to fit any nest box.

A bird box cam usually comes with infrared LEDs to support night vision and ensure that the camera keeps recording without disrupting the activities of the birds. Some nest box cameras are battery-powered, while others come with power over Ethernet (PoE).

Some models of a nest box camera are wired, while some operate wirelessly. The wireless models are more flexible and easy to set up. Some models come with an inbuilt microphone for a better user experience.

Although you can make your nest box yourself, some bird box kits come with a ready-to-use nest box, making things easier.

How does a bird box camera work?

The bird box camera is installed inside the birdhouse to watch birds, basically all bird box cameras in the market are IP cameras. Since it is an IP camera, which means that it can connect to a network in the same way that your phones and computers do so, it can receive and send video footage via an IP network.

You can remotely watch the exciting bird activities inside the bird box at anytime and anywhere, by linking to your home WiFi and setting up the app on smart phone or ipad.

For wireless bird box cameras, the signal is sent wirelessly to home. It connects to your home internet router’s WiFi signal.

For wired bird box camera, the signal is sent to home via ethernet cable, which is also called PoE(powered over Ethernet).

What kind of camera can you use to record birds at a nest?

If you are a newbie when it comes to getting cameras, you might want to hold your horses before rushing to purchase one, and this is because you can use other cameras to record the activities of birds from a nest box.

Before purchasing a nest box camera, there are some things you should consider. For example, you should consider your budget, if you prefer a wireless nest box camera, whether you want to opt for a camera that captures audio as well, or perhaps you want an HD bord box camera. You might also want to consider if you need a bird box camera with a night vision feature.

Below are the types of cameras you can use to record birds at a nest:

1. Birdbox camera

You can enjoy watching your birds from their nest are by using a good birds nest cam setup. Nest box cameras are pretty affordable, with a price range of about $30-$100. The prices increase with the brand type and any added features such as a microphone, night vision or more explicit quality features. The kit is easy to use, strait out of the box, these cameras are designed to fit into the nest box.
The table below shows the different types of bird nest cameras:

Camera Brand Price
Green Feathers WiFi HD Bird Box Camera Green feathers $182
RSPB Nest Box Camera System RSPB $275.67
Gardenature Nest Box IP Camera Kit Gardennature $190.21
Birdhouse Spy Cam BCAMHEHD Hawk Eye HD Camera (Set of 1) Birdhouse Spy cam $101.25
Gardenature Side View Bird Box Camera Gardenature $194.33

2. Wireless IP camera / Security camera

Wireless IP camera as a security camera, it has all the features that a normal IP camera has, which means that it can pass the video signal through the network signal, using it to record the bird's nest box could not be more appropriate, a wireless IP camera price is about $ 40 to $ 200 range.

Like the bird nest box camera, the IP camera also has different features. Therefore, if you are a novice, you must buy it after you are informed.
A good security camera can pick up sound and most have a two-way intercom function, so you can hear the pleasant bird song and shout to the little guys through your mobile app. You can get creative with the qualities of a good security camera and use it to study your birds.

A good security camera can have motion detection, a feature generally used to prevent burglars from entering your home, just so you can take advantage of this feature, when the lovely bird returns to the nest, you immediately receive an alarm message from the camera pushing "the lovely bird has arrived at the nest", isn't that amazing?

3. DIY camera

What makes the nest box camera perfect for studying birds is because it has been designed to fit into a nest box. However, you can get creative and make do with the camera you have.

This means that make use of the camera you have available and attach it to the nest box and still enjoy watching your birds. There are other options to explore such as gopro cameras, raspberry pi, or you can make use of an old smart phone.

Features to consider for a bird nest camera

So, you are interested in getting a nest cam, and you are not sure of which to pick, consider the following features when getting a bird nest camera:

Your budget:

This is the most important thing to consider. After deciding what your budget will be, you can pick a camera with good features that suit your budget. When laying out your budget, you need to consider that the higher the camera’s video quality, the more expensive it is.

Also, consider the fact that wireless and wire-free cam are even more expensive and if you are opting for cameras that make use of solar power, you need to have a higher budget in mind.

Wireless cameras also require a monthly fee for saving your files to the cloud or may need a battery change if you decide to opt for the ones that make use of batteries.

Wired or wireless:

If you want to access your footage at anytime and anywhere, the wireless cam is what you need. However, some of the cons of getting a wireless camera are that it might be prone to hacking, and video quality may be affected since it is dependent on Wi-Fi.

A wireless cam that uses batteries and local storage can keep recording even when your internet or power supply goes down. You might want to consider that most wireless nest box cam is a little more advanced than wired cams.

However, if you live where the Wi-Fi connection is inconsistent or do not want to worry about getting Wi-Fi signals, then the wired cam is perfect for you. They operate locally and are secure.

For wired cams, video quality is consistent, no monthly subscription to save footage to the cloud is required, and they are cheaper. You can also opt for a PoE cam.

Finally, for saving your videos on a wired cam, you can opt for a kit that allows you to commit to a network video recorder (NVR), and you can choose to connect it to your TV or PC.

Audio:

Audio quality is just as important as video quality when watching the footage. For a good experience, you might want to consider getting a nest box cam that enables you to listen to what is going on in the nest box. You can opt for a cam with a built microphone or a cam that comes with an external microphone.

While an in-built microphone seems convenient, it may sound far off and unclear. If you want to upload your video to any social media platform, you might want to get an external microphone and keep leaving the inbuilt microphone for backup.

Resolution:

Most individuals enjoy watching videos with crisp and clear images, if you fall into this category, a nest box cam with high resolution will be perfect. We are talking an HD 1080p cam and above.

Night vision:

Cameras with the night vision feature enable you to see what’s going on inside the nest box at a low light intensity or when the nest box is pitch black. Most of these cams come with infrared LEDs that allow the cam to pick up images without disturbing the birds.

They usually give off images in black and white because these cameras have monochrome filters which enable you to see the image. During the day or in the presence of bright light, these cameras have IR cut filters that can help block the infrared lights.

Birdbox included or not:

for easy setup, you might want to consider getting a bird box kit that comes with a nest box. This is because the equipment required to set it up will most likely be included. Also, ensure that the type of material of the box you are getting on the kit is of good quality, wood board preferably and not cardboard.

However, if you want to have fun or enjoy the process of making your own nest box, you can opt for just the camera, but try to work with a nest box that suits the measurement and type of camera you will be purchasing.

Motion detector:

Most wireless cameras are advanced and are powered by machine learning; this enables them to detect movement, humans and send alerts to you. You could get a signal directly to your phone or a different bird in the nest box when a bird arrives.

User friendly:

when getting your cam, consider if it is something you can set up by yourself or need professional help. Most wireless cams are more accessible to set up than wired cam, requiring you to use a pipe for the PoE cable.

Also, consider if it’s easy to connect the camera to your smartphone, TV, or PC and check the videos.

Check out our tutorial on how to connect your cam to your TV here.

App supported:

Most cameras might support an app used to access videos for you to receive a notification via your phone when the bird arrives.

Google Home or Alexa compatible:

Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are virtual assistants embedded in voice-activated speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo and other smart devices such as the television, lights, and cameras. These assistant systems can detect commands and make life easier.

Bits of Advice you can apply when using a bird nest camera.

  • Wireless cameras are easy to set up, so when setting up a wireless bird camera, ensure to follow the instructions provided in the manual.
  • Get a professional to set up your camera if you are using a wired camera or if you find the instructions in your wireless cam confusing.
  • When setting up your wireless camera, ensure you test the distance before putting the camera up. Try not to put the camera far away from the router or central hub. A wireless cam does not extend as far as 300-500 feet. Consider using a range of about 150 feet for best results.
  • Camera powered by batteries needs to be changed over time. Consider opting for a camera that uses solar power to not interfere with the birds.
  • Ensure that you hide your cables in a conduit when setting up a wired camera. You can pass your PoE cable through a pipe, making it easy to set up another camera.
  • To improve video quality, consider getting or making a bird nest camera with a transparent roof. You can opt for a glass or plastic top. This improves the lighting and enables your camera to provide clear and bright footages with more colour during the day.
  • When setting up your wired camera, get a long power cable to make set-up easier.
  • Choose a small compact camera that can fit into the nest box and an easy camera to install in the nest box.
  • After setting up the camera, avoid disturbing the camera or nest box, which can drive the birds away.
  • If you have a camera with two-way audio, it’s better to not speak with the two-way audio. Just enjoy listening to the bird from your end.
  • Get a cable with waterproof features or make use of a conduit. Also, consider getting a durable nest box that is waterproof.
  • Make use of a camera with IR led for night vision instead of using led lights.

Reasons why small security cameras/IP cameras for birdbox are doable

Since a lot of our customers are into bird watching and a bird box camera is essentially a tiny IP camera for watching birds. Therefore, you can use a small IP camera in the absence of a bird box camera. Making use of a high-performance IP security camera is perfect.

Below are three reasons why IP cameras for bird boxes are doable:

  • Higher resolution: Most security IP cameras provide clear images that show a lot of details, making it an excellent choice if you are interested in video quality that stands out.
  • Professional: An IP/security camera is adjustable, easy to connect to the app, with two years guarantee, provides good technical support, and supports features like motion alert or message pus to your smartphone.
  • Lower price for performance: The security camera has many features that can give you a better bird watching experience; more importantly, it is affordable.

For example, RLC-410 is about $50, and it is an IP camera with a resolution of 5MP, which is basically above all of the bird box cameras on sale (1080p). The perk of having this camera is that it is reusable. That is, you can stop using it as a bird box camera and use it as a fully-functioning security camera to protect your house and vice versa.

Note that this is just a doable plan in case you don’t plan to watch birds for a long time or you happen to have an IP camera. An IP security camera is not a design for bird boxes. Some of them may be large and may require bigger nest boxes. Therefore, we will recommend IP cameras that are as small as possible.

IP camera Recommendations for bird box camera

As mentioned earlier, an IP camera might be what you need for better video quality. Therefore, we will recommend smaller-sized IP cameras like the reolink lumus,and RLC-410 ip cameras to make it selection easy and also to provide a better experience.

Camera comparisons:

Camera model name Reolink Lumus RLC-410(5MP)
Resolution 1080P 2560 x 1440
Size 60 x 99 x 99mm 82 x 68 x 83mm
Microphone Two-way audio Audio recording only
Night vision Supports coloured night vision Supports night vision
Spotlight LED spotlight 18Psc IR LEDs
Power Wired Wired
Wired/wireless Wireless Wired (PoE)
Price $39.99 $49.99
Where to buy Reolink official site/ Amazon Reolink official site/ Amazon

Best wireless Wi-Fi camera for a bird box

The Reolink Lumus

The Reolink Lumus is an outdoor IP camera with a dimension of 60 x 99 x 99mm, a weight of about 185g, a resolution of 1080p HD, and a WiFi camera powered by a cable.

This camera comes with many cool features, some of which include a bright motion-triggered LED spotlight that supports coloured night vision, 2-way audio, 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi connection, supports both iOS and Android, and good sound and motion detection features.

The camera’s motion detection sensitivity can be adjusted; however, this camera can differentiate between humans from vehicles or flying bugs. It comes with a micro SD card slot that supports SD cards of up to 128Gb.

This camera has a field of view of about 125 degrees diagonally, and it is perfect if you want to enjoy watching your birds at night in coloured images.

The Reolink Lumus is a smart and compact security camera with high resolution and a bright LED spotlight that supports clear and coloured night vision. It allows you to save your footage on an SD card or upload them to the cloud, where you can access them at any time.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Great 1080p display
  • Compatible with assistant systems.
  • Can record footages in SD card
  • Free cloud storage
  • Coloured night vision
  • Siren

Cons

  • Narrow field of view
  • Minor connection issue when monitoring remotely via smartphone
  • Requires wired power source (This could be a Pro depending on the individual)

The Reolink lumus has been tested and reviewed many times, and it operates well, having good video, audio and app quality and a great user experience for bird box.

Best PoE wired camera for a bird box

RLC-410

The most remarkable thing about the RLC-410 is the incredible HD 2560 x 1440 high resolution, which gives a clear image. It can provide clear night vision for up to 100 feet, covers a horizontal angle of about 80 degrees and provides sound audio recording at a range of 15 feet.

The RLC-410 is an excellent budget-friendly IP camera for beginners, and it has a high resolution of 2560 x 1440(5 Megapixels) at 30fps, a human detection feature that sends motion alerts via email, and comes with a micro SD card slot that supports SD cards of up to 128Gb.

It has an angle of view of about 80 degrees horizontally and 58 degrees vertically. It also operates with a PoE cable, weighs about 350g, and it is an IP66 waterproof cam that is not affected by the weather.

This camera comes with 18pcs of infrared LEDs for clear video recording at night, it is super easy to set up and wire, and more importantly, it is compatible with smartphones (iOS/Android). The RLC-410 IP cam only supports audio recording, and this means you don’t get to worry about disturbing your birds.

It is a camera that can allow you to view footage on your smartphone, and it operates with a PoE, making it less susceptible to hacking.

Pros

  • Quality night vision
  • Weatherproof design (IP66)
  • Affordable
  • Clear audio

Cons

  • Not as flexible as the wireless camera
  • Requires wired power source
  • PoE injector not included in the package

How to set up a wireless bird box cam

Opting for a wireless nest box camera allows you to enjoy watching your birds via the bird box cam Wi-Fi on any device.
For the sake of experience, you might find it exciting to set your wireless bird box cam yourself.

The following is a step-by-step guide that can help you get started:

Step 1: Start by creating a checklist.

You don’t want to get to work only to realise that something is missing. Before setting out, write out a list of things you need and purchase them.

For a wireless bird nest camera, you will need the following on your material checklist:

  • Camera
  • Nest box
  • Screwdriver
  • Hand drill
  • Pencil or pen
  • Router

Step 2: Camera setup

When setting up a wireless camera, you need to consider the distance and location of the router from the camera. Before setting up the camera in the nest box, take the following steps:

  • Start by wiring the camera indoors to test it out and ensure that everything is working well as it should.
  • Power up the receiver and connect the AV cable plug to your TV to test it out.
  • Place the router by the window and position it in a way that points towards the camera.
  • Test the distance the router can cover and mark out the area you want to place the camera
  • Install your camera on the nest box. This requires you to drill a hole on the nest box, then connect the camera to the nest box using the screwdriver.

Step 3: PC and phone setup

This is a crucial step to carry out before installing your camera outside.
You can set up your phone/PC to your camera by:

  • Connecting the receiver to your TV or PC.
  • Insert the AV plugs into the receiver and then connect them to the AV port on the TV.
  • For a PC, you can get an HDMI converter or a USB converter for your phone as well.

How to live stream a birds nest camera

how to live stream a bird nest camera

To live-stream your bird nest camera, consider getting a good IP camera, something like the RLC 410 would do. You will need:

  1. A modem
  2. A PoE projector
  3. Ethernet cables
  4. A pipe (optional)
  5. A short ethernet cable

Live stream your bird nest with the following steps:

  • Start by connecting your modem to your router.
  • Using the short ethernet cable, connect the PoE projector to the router.
  • Test your camera and then scout for a suitable position for your camera.
  • Mark out the distance and pass your ethernet cable underground from the camera to the router. You can use a pipe to protect the wires and make room for giving more wires easily.
  • Connect the ethernet cord to the camera.
  • Type the IP address of the camera into your phone or PC browser.
  • Then send your live streams to any of the social media platforms of your choice.

How to set up a PoE bird nest cam

A PoE (Power over Ethernet) camera is a camera that can transmit both data and power using just one cable, and this enables it to power the camera while sending data to the network source.
You can set up your PoE camera in three easy ways:

1. Connecting the PoE cam to a PoE switch

This is the easiest way to set up a PoE camera. Install a PoE switch and connect the camera to it. The PoE switch will take care of providing the camera with network and power.

2. Connecting the PoE cam to a PoE injector

You can connect the PoE injector directly to your router, and this enables it to supply power to your camera and data from your camera.

3. By installing a PoE Network Video Recorder (NVR)

If you have a router that isn’t compatible with PoE, you have to install a PoE NVR the PoE NVR will provide power to your PoE camera and provide data from your camera.

DIY options for birdbox camera

GoPro cameras

Most persons make use of their old GoPro camera as a DIY option for a security camera. For your GoPro to turn into a wireless cam, you need to turn on both your PC and your action cam and, if you have a Hero 4 down version, press the black button with the Wi-Fi symbol located on the left side of your GoPro, until the light stops flashing.

Go to the settings menu (represented by the wrench), confirm with the shutter release button and then press the power button repeatedly until you reach the item “Wireless Controls”.Once you have selected this option, select “GoPro App” and wait for the connection to be activated.

Suppose you are the proud owner of a GoPro Hero 5 or later. In that case, you can turn it into an IP camera by opening the settings menu, selecting “Connections”, and scrolling down to “Wireless connections”. Once you’ve done that, tap on the setting and your GoPro will automatically activate its Wi-Fi connection.

Raspberry Pi

This option is for individuals who want to have fun with the DIY experience and is not for serious bird watching. This is because the image quality is not clear, and the cameras are not durable.

If you love coding and a challenging DIY camera setup, this is a great project, and you can also learn how to add a motion detector to your camera.

Used Mobile Phones

This method is not recommended, but you are good to go if you have an old phone and a spare charger to keep it working. You may want to consider getting a wide-range lens to attach to your phones.

However, this may not be a good choice for a nest box camera. This is because taking out the phone disrupt the activities of the bird. Also, the quality of the footage depends on the quality of the phone camera.

How to DIY a bird nest camera with GoPro

GoPro cameras are known for their broad range view, which means you can capture even the tightest objects in a shot.

To use a GoPro camera:

  • Mount the camera 12 inches from where the bird is because the image gets blurry when it’s too close.
  • Please place it in a position that it won’t be affected by fog.
  • And you can begin your shoot.

The Pros:

  • You can get a broader view of the action.

Cons:

  • Images get blurry when they come up close
  • Not for everyone
  • No zoom out options
  • Poor battery life (changing batteries may disrupt the activities of the birds
  • It is more suitable for brighter pictures as colour balance reduces with brightness.

GoPro may give you a wide range of pictures, however, it is does not provide quality images with low intensity lights. Reolink Ip cameras can cover a wide range, provide good picture quality, and provide you with crisp and clear images even with low intensity light. This means that you can enjoy watching your birds both in the day and night time.

15 best live bird box cam in 2021 around the world (Editor’s choice)- Bird species + location

The following are the top 15 live bird nest cam showing the type of bird and location of the camera:

1. USA bald eagle- Califonia

Located at Big bear Lake, Califonia presents great close range footages of the activities of the bald eagles from a Jeffery pine tree of about 145 feet. The nest is the current home for Jackie and Shadow, a local bald eagle pair.

2. Owls-South Africa

This camera brings live streams of the barn owl in Linden, South Africa. Live streams present the activities of owls at night with a night vision camera.

3. New South Wales, Australia

Find out about the activities of the non-migratory peregrine falcons in Australia. This camera is located within the campus of Charles Sturt University in Australia, on the edge of the city of Orange in the Central West region of New South Wales.

4. Loughborough, UK

This cam shows the activities of the blue tit bird, from the nesting to the hatching of the newborns.

5. Tit birds- Germany

This bird box camera is located in Recke, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is a high-resolution HD camera that presents live-stream on the two blue tit birds “Mini and Pip”.

6. Barn owl- United Kingdom

This high resolution nest box cam show live streams of two barn owls “Ghost and Willow”. It is located in Fotherdale, Yorkshire, UK.

7. La Cresent, Minnesota

Situated in Minnesota is a nest box cam that records the lives of the falcon birds. The nest box overlooks the Mississippi river facing the cliffside.

8. Kestrels- United Kingdom

Kestrels are specie of falcon birds. Check out Mr. and Mrs Kes, and their six chicks on this cam. This nest box camera is located in Fotherdale, Yorkshire, UK.

9. Stoats- UK

Owned by Robert Fuller, is a bird box camera that showed live streams of the stoat birds, Hazel and her four kits. It is located in Fotherdale, Yorkshire, UK.

10. Tawny owls- UK

Check out Bomber and Luna on this cam, the live streams of these tawny owls started airing in 2013. This nest box camera is located in Fotherdale, Yorkshire, UK.

11. Screech owls- United States

From Florida, US, check out the live streams of the eastern screech owl. The camera provides HD footage of the mother screech owl watching her eggs while the father screech owl brings food for her.

12. Condor birds- Califonia, USA

It is situated two miles east of the Pacific ocean in Big Sur, Califonia. It is a nest box camera that streams the live activities of California condor birds.

13. Peregrine Falcons- USA

Cal falcons nest cam, UC Berkeley, California, USA shows the activities of the peregrine falcons “Annie and Grinnell”.

14. Ospreys- Australia

This nest box cam is located in Port Lincoln, South Australia, and has been live streaming since 2015. It is a nice setup that live-broadcast streams of the osprey birds.

15. Falcons- Canada

This camera streams footage of the falcons found in the Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. It shows footages that shows peregrine falcons lay and hatch their chicks.

Conclusion

If you enjoy watching birds, getting a good IP camera is more affordable and easier to use, and you get to keep your data. Finding a good camera can be tasking, however, Reolink gives you quality at an affordable rate. Get yours now and start taking a peek at the birds you admire.

Search

All Comments Are Welcome

Terry

Terry is a security blog writer at Reolink, where he cares about everything from home security and security cameras to smart home gadgets and emerging technologies. When not working, he enjoys keeping up with the latest news in electronics, watches and technology. Film theory and film editing techniques are also his interests.