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Cameras for Bird Watching: Must-Have Gadgets for Birding at Your Garden

Lorenz7/10/2024
Cameras for Bird Watching: Must-Have Gadgets for Birding at Your Garden

Binoculars or digital cameras may not be the best shots to watch lovely birds in your garden when you are away from home. And security cameras for bird watching are a better solution. So, which are the best bird feeder cameras for your yard? Luckily, we have hand-picked the best options below for your reference and included some of the most practical tips to improve bird watching experience at home.

When you want to buy cameras for bird watching, here is the key information:

Features High resolution/night vision
Recommended Camera Reolink Go Plus/RLC-810A
Setup 3 steps
Tips Choose compact security cameras

What Kind of Cameras Can You Use for Bird Watching

For a bird lover to observe birds in person or on the screen, there are multiple cameras options available.

Common camera types for bird watching include digital cameras, binoculars w/o built-in cameras, telescopes, and wireless bird-feeder cameras.

With these devices, bird watchers can easily capture spectacular moments and keep a photo or video record.

If you are a beginner, don’t rush to make a purchase.

This chart may help you find the best bird-watching camera that is right for you.

Type Brands Price Range
Digital Cameras Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus $1000 - $5000
Binoculars Nikon, Celestron, Vortex, Zeiss, Leica $50 - $3000
Binoculars with Cameras Bushnell, Meade, Vivitar $50 - $1000
Telescope Celestron, Orion, Sky-Watcher $100 - $1000
Bird feeder cameras Bird Buddy, Go Pro $50 - $500
Wireless birdwatching security camera Arlo, Wyze, Reolink, eufy $50 - $200

Can Security Cameras Be Used for Bird Watching

Definitely YES!

Security cameras not only serve the purpose of home and business surveillance but also are solid and affordable bird-watching gadgets.

But how to choose the best wireless bird-watching security cameras?

Take the following must-have features into account to hunt the perfect one:

#1. High Resolution for Outdoor Bird Watching Cameras

When choosing the best video cameras for bird watching, you would never go wrong by picking up one with a higher resolution.

Generally speaking, the higher resolution your wildlife cameras have, the sharper bird images and videos they can capture.

The recommended security camera resolution includes 1080p, 4MP, 5MP, and even 4K.

IP Security Camera Resolution Comparison

With such high-definition cameras for bird watching, you are able to each and every feather of the beautiful birds clearly and vividly.

Take a look at the crisp video sample below, which shows the happy birds chasing each other in the snow (captured by a Reolink 5MP outdoor security camera).

#2. Decent Night Vision

Another must-have feature for a bird-watching camera is its excellent night vision capability.

Equipped with decent night vision, a good camera for bird watching allows you to see everything clearly in low light conditions.

Generally speaking, most security cameras offer night vision images in black and white, which is clear enough for human eyes to differentiate one item from another without other light sources.

Moreover, some top security camera brands also offer bird watching security cameras with advanced image sensors, making it possible for you to watch the beautiful birds in true colors when the night falls.

Here is a color night vision video sample captured by Reolink Argus 3 Pro, a battery-powered outdoor security camera.

#3. Built-in Microphone for Remote Bird Watching Cameras

If you are looking for a live bird-watching camera, pick one with a built-in microphone so that you won’t miss the beautiful bird songs.

With the audio enabled, you are able to listen to natural sounds while watching the lovely birds on the screen.

#4. Capability to Survive the Elements

Besides, the best CCTV cameras for bird watching can also stand guard keenly rain or shine, indoors and outdoors.

To ensure that the cameras you pick survive the elements, select one with IP65+ ratings.

Note that some security camera brands may also offer accessories like junction boxes for you to keep moisture away from the cables and connectors.

#5. Easy Installation

You may believe that the installation work for bird-watching cameras in the garden can be a time-sponge task.

Not necessary…if you have chosen garden IP security cameras.

Generally speaking, a PoE outdoor security camera in your garden requires only one cable for both power supply and data transmission.

In terms of WiFi cameras for bird watching, plug them in the nearest power outlets and install them in spots that are within your home WiFi coverage. And they are ready to work!

Hold Up: Skip to part 5 to find a detailed guide on how to set up cameras for bird watching in a breeze.

If you don’t want to bother managing the cables around your home, battery-powered wireless cameras for bird watching are the ideal options.

You may also add solar panels to the battery-powered security cameras, just like this resourceful homeowner does – he hides a Reolink Argus 2E battery-powered security camera in a birdhouse!

Battery Powered Security Cameras in Birdhouse

Reolink Argus 2E

Wire-Free, Battery or Solar Powered IP Camera

Rechargeable Battery & Solar Powered; 1080 Full HD; Stunning Night Vision; Built-In Siren; 120° Wide Viewing Angle; Two-Way Audio.

#6. Sensitive Motion Sensors

Believe it or not:

You can take pictures of the beautiful birds even without hitting the shutter.

Because a bird-watching trail camera with a sensitive motion sensor can do your job.

Once such a surveillance camera detects any motion, it will wake up in less than 1 second and start to record immediately. In the meantime, it will send you instant alerts to notify you as well.

So, you can feel free to leave the photography job to a motion-activated birdfeeder camera without waiting for the birds to come around on your own.

Showdown: Check out this post and learn more about how do motion sensors work and capture images.

#7. Remote Viewing Software for Bird Watching Cameras

Another nice-to-have feature for a bird-watching video camera is the easy viewing software for mobile phones, PCs, or tablets.

For example, some top security camera brands offer official and free app and client for homeowners to view their home security cameras on smartphones and computers at any time, anywhere.

With such software, you are able to see how are the birds doing in your garden and control the cameras for bird watching remotely on the screens while sitting in your living room or traveling a thousand miles away from home.

Top Picks of Bird Watching Security Cameras (Reviews & Videos Included)

Since the options of bird-watching cameras abound in the market, it can be a tough task for you to decide which to choose.

That’s where we come in.

Check out the 2 editor’s picks below that deliver the full set of features you would expect from the best video cameras for bird watching.

If you are looking for a wireless bird-watching camera for your off-grid properties, 4G battery-powered security cameras like Reolink Go Plus will be ideal options.

Reolink Go Plus

Smart Wireless 4G Battery Camera

Rechargeable Battery/Solar Powered, Person/Vehicle Detection, 2K 4MP Super HD, Two-Way Audio, High-Quality Night Vision, Live View Anytime.

With a rechargeable battery and 4G connection, this outdoor video camera for bird watching requires no power outlets or cables for power supply and data transmission. So, it is quite easy to set it up even for beginners.

Also, you are able to check the real-time battery usage data via Reolink app, so you will be notified when this 4G battery-powered security camera is running low on juice.

If you won’t bother to recharge the battery from time to time, add a solar panel to this wireless camera for bird watching so that it can capture birds and other animals around your properties with non-stop power.

4G Wireless Bird Watching Camera

Tech Spec:

Resolution 2K 4MP
Night Vision Up to 33 feet night vision
Audio 2-way speaker & microphone
Field of View 115°
Power Supply Rechargeable battery, solar panel, or 5V/2A power adaptor
Data Transmission 4G cellular data (click here to find the network carriers in your locations)
Alerts Customized voice-recordable alerts, emails & push
Storage Options SD card (optional), Reolink Cloud
Weather Resistance IP65 weatherproof
Working Temperature -10° to 55°C (14° to 131°F)
Media Reviews “With the Reolink Go Plus, that solution comes in the form of a 4G LTE radio that connects the camera directly to a cellular network. – TechHive.com

Here is a video sample captured by this remote camera for bird watching (shared by a user).

If you want to observe birds in all directions, you need a security camera with a PT function. Reolink Go PT Ultra is a good option.

Reolink Go PT Ultra is a cutting-edge smart camera, boasting 4K 8MP Ultra HD resolution for crystal-clear imagery. Its battery and solar power options offer flexible installation, while smart detection capabilities keep you alerted to motion and sound. With a wide 355° pan and 140° tilt range, this camera ensures comprehensive coverage. Plus, its color night vision technology ensures vivid footage even in low-light conditions.

Reolink Go PT Ultra

4K 8MP Wire-Free 4G LTE PT Battery Camera

4K 8MP; Smart Detection; 355° Pan & 140° Tilt; Battery/Solar Powered; Color Night Vision; Smart Real-Time Alert.

If there is a stable WiFi network around your house, take a look at Argus Track, an outdoor WiFi camera for bird watching.

Argus Track presents a cutting-edge solution for bird watching needs. Boasting 4K 8MP Ultra HD resolution, it ensures high-quality image capture with impeccable detail. The camera's versatility is evident with its pan, tilt, and 6X hybrid zoom capabilities, offering extensive coverage and the ability to focus on specific areas of interest.

Furthermore, Argus Track's innovative features include color night vision for clear footage in low-light conditions and 5/2.4 GHz dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity for seamless data transmission. Its solar and battery power options provide flexibility in installation, making it an ideal choice for various environments.

Reolink Argus Track

4K Dual-Lens Wi-Fi Solar/Battery Camera

4K 8MP Ultra HD, Auto-Zoom Tracking, Pan, Tilt & 6X Hybrid Zoom, Color Night Vision, Dual-Band Wi-Fi.

Outdoor IP security cameras like Reolink RLC-810A shall top your list if you are looking for a dual-duty camera for bird watching and home security.

Reolink RLC-810A

4K PoE IP Camera with Person/Vehicle Detection

Smart Person/Vehicle Alerts; 4K UHD Day & Night; 100ft Night Vision; Time Lapse; IP66 Certified Weatherproof; Audio Recording.

Sporting 4K ultra-high definition and decent night vision, this security camera can record vivid bird videos days and nights.

Besides, this PoE IP bird watching camera requires only one Ethernet cable for power supply and data transmission. So, you are able to configure such a CCTV camera in a breeze.

Tech Spec:

Resolution 4K/8MP
Power Supply PoE, DC 12V power adapter
Data Transmission PoE
Night Vision Up to 100 feet
Audio Built-in microphone
Field of View Horizontal: 87°, vertical: 44°
Alerts Emails & push for person/vehicle detection
Storage Options 24/7 recording on SD card (optional) & Reolink NVR, FTP server
Weather Resistance IP66 waterproof
Working Temperature -10° to 55°C (14° to 131°F)
Media Reviews “Thanks to that 4K sensor, the Reolink RLC-810A shoots some of the best-quality footage that I’ve seen from a security camera, during the day or night." – ambient.com

A homeowner applies this CCTV camera for bee-watching outdoors to monitor his bee house. And it does record beautiful videos when bees are flying!

Editor’s Note: If you are in the market for the best zoom camera for bird watching, take a look at Reolink RLC-823A, an outdoor PoE IP camera with 360° pan, 90° tilt, and 5X optical zoom.

Reolink RLC-823A

Smart PTZ PoE Camera with Spotlights

4K 8MP Ultra HD, Person/Vehicle Detection, 5X Optical Zoom, Auto Tracking, Manual Pan & Tilt, Two-Way Audio, 190ft Night Vision, Live View.

How to Set Up a Wireless Security Camera for Bird Watching: A Step-by-Step Guide

The effort to set up a wireless camera for bird watching may not be as complicated as you imagine.

To help you set up the camera within minutes, we have broken down the whole procedure into understandable and practical chunks.

Let’s get going.

Step 1. Decide Where to Install Bird Watching Cameras

If you want to take a close look at the daily life of lovely birds, then place a security camera inside your birdhouse.

You may also place the camera near a feeder or hide a bird-watching camera inside a birdhouse by drilling a hole at the birdhouse and facing the camera towards the outside of the birdhouse.

For the two cases above, it is best to choose smaller size security cameras like battery-powered ones since they can better fit in the birdhouse and won’t require any power cables.

Battery Powered Birdhouse Security Camera

Also, you may set up surveillance cameras for bird watching outside the birdhouse as well. Ideal installation spots for these security cameras include the front door, back door, and places under the eave.

Read More: Check out this post to find the best places for outdoor CCTV cameras.

Step 2. Run Wires for Bird Watching Video Cameras: This Works for both PoE & Wireless Birding Cameras

To provide a proper power supply and data transmission channel to bird watching cameras, you may spare some efforts to run the wires and protect them from the elements as well.

Here is how:

#1. Find the shortest cable route before running the wires.

#2. Run the cables along the route that you plan and use conduit, PVC pipes, or cable guards to protect the cables from the elements.

#3. Connect one end of the cables to a power outlet or a router and the other end to the camera for bird watching.

Editor’s Tip: Click here to find more practical tips on how to run security camera wires.

Step 3. Set Up Cameras for Bird Watching for Local Access & Remote Viewing

With the installation work done, now you are ready to connect the birdhouse security cameras to a monitor as local access or set them up for remote viewing.

If you want to view cameras for bird watching on TV, download streaming apps on TV or use IP-camera-to-HDMI converters.

Or, you may set up remote viewing so that you can keep tabs on the lovely birds in your garden via smartphones or computers when you are away from home.

And that’s the whole setup process. Easy and practical even for green hands.

Getting the Most Out of Bird Watching Cameras: Practical Tips & Tricks

Setting up the video cameras for bird watching in your garden is only half the story.

Take the following practical tips into account and improve the birding experience at home:

#1. Choose smaller cameras for bird watching. Such compact security cameras can fit in a birdhouse better and appear less noticeable for birds. So, they won’t scare off the birds and other animals around your house.

#2. Use bird-watching cameras as home surveillance cameras as well. Aside from birding, the video cameras can be used to monitor your garden, front yard, and front door as well. It is best to choose a brand-name motion-activated birdhouse camera if you want to use it for dual purposes.

#3. Livestream bird-watching cameras to your websites or YouTube channel. Instead of viewing the cameras for bird watching on your own, you may also stream your cameras to YouTube or your websites and share the enjoyable moments with the other bird lovers around the world!

Cornell Lab Bird Cams has been streaming bird activities at feeders and nests for a long time. Check out his channel to watch the latest bird videos captured with bird-watching cameras.

We’re Keen to Know Your Ideas!

Are you also planning to set up your own cameras for bird watching? What are the other tips and tricks to capture beautiful birding images you can think of? Share your ideas or even videos captured by your security cameras in the comment section below!

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Lorenz is an independent writer who is keen on security industry. She also loves to share new ideas and information of security life with readers.