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Nest box camera

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Old Tuesday 20th April 2004, 09:03   #1
Norbert
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Nest box camera

I have a b/w camera with infra red lighting in a nest box in my garden, which is currently occupied and keeping me glued to the TV screen! The image is very bright though, so I think the lighting is probably too strong (there are 6 i/r leds in the camera unit). Does anyone have any suggestions as to the best way of reducing the light? I thought of masking off a couple of the leds but haven't tried anything yet. Has anyone had similar problems?
I'm certainly not going to change anything now the nest box is occupied but want to try something for next season.
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Old Tuesday 20th April 2004, 12:14   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norbert
I have a b/w camera with infra red lighting in a nest box in my garden, which is currently occupied and keeping me glued to the TV screen! The image is very bright though, so I think the lighting is probably too strong (there are 6 i/r leds in the camera unit). Does anyone have any suggestions as to the best way of reducing the light? I thought of masking off a couple of the leds but haven't tried anything yet. Has anyone had similar problems?
I'm certainly not going to change anything now the nest box is occupied but want to try something for next season.
Hi Norbert
I'm sure this would work but with fewer LEDs you may end up with harsher light. I remember seeing someone covering up his LEDs with the plastic from a milk bottle to soften up the light.

I get around it by using Icatcher software and a video captue card on my PC. The Icatcher software allows you to adjust the picture on my cameras independently.

It you are watching on TV you will not want to keep adjusting your TV picture. You could cover up your LEDs with layers of plastic natural density filters (from camera shops). Just add layers until the brightness is correct.

If you have an exposed B/W camera mounted on a pcb like mine you can bend the LEDs away from the lens to give a more diffused light by bouncing the light off the sides of your nest box.

Hope this helps.
Brett
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Old Tuesday 20th April 2004, 12:32   #3
Norbert
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Thanks for that Nobby. The camera is in a sort of housing so the leds aren't exposed so I can't easily bend them out of the way. I like the idea of the plastic milk bottle diffuser though - I may try something like that.

I may try the Icatcher/PC video card route like you sometime in the future when I get round to it, but for now it's just plugged straight in to the telly.
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Old Tuesday 20th April 2004, 17:46   #4
Elizabeth Bigg
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It looks like we might need a sub-subforum for nestboxes with cameras!!!
This year we added 3 white LEDs and a variable resistor (which can be adjusted to control the brightness of the LEDs) in series with the original bulb that had been used in previous years.
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Old Tuesday 20th April 2004, 18:06   #5
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I have a similar B&W nestbox camera set-up. I used the plastic milk carton technique and the light level and contrast are just fine. It took a bit of trial and error though and I ended up using two layers of plastic. Leave enough room for the heat to get out though.
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Old Tuesday 20th April 2004, 22:11   #6
gmace
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I guess this is probably the better place to post my nest cam; I made a larger post in the "Birds & Birding" category. Anyway, I have a robin's nest on my window ledge with a webcam close by. Only one egg right now (not visible on camera) so the robin isn't sticking around very much. I plan to run this camera until the nestlings leave. http://www.macetech.com
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Old Thursday 22nd April 2004, 09:58   #7
thbirdcam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norbert
I have a b/w camera with infra red lighting in a nest box in my garden, which is currently occupied and keeping me glued to the TV screen! The image is very bright though, so I think the lighting is probably too strong (there are 6 i/r leds in the camera unit). Does anyone have any suggestions as to the best way of reducing the light? I thought of masking off a couple of the leds but haven't tried anything yet. Has anyone had similar problems?
I'm certainly not going to change anything now the nest box is occupied but want to try something for next season.
Hi Norbert
I followed the same route as Malcolm and Elizabeth this year and installed installed their led light system. I changed my IR Cams for non IR because I found the IR to be to bright and couldn't get a nice picture.
Check last years nesting on my website and then look at this years picture quality....I'm sure you'll agree the result is worth it. I tried covering some of the IR leds but didn't like the result. I also tried a roof window in my nestboxes this year....covered with a thin piece of plastic and sealed to keep water out...that really does help picture quality and the birds seem fine with it. Good luck with your nesting birds this year.
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Old Thursday 22nd April 2004, 11:48   #8
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Hi Norbert
I followed the same route as Malcolm and Elizabeth this year and installed installed their led light system. I changed my IR Cams for non IR because I found the IR to be to bright and couldn't get a nice picture.
Check last years nesting on my website and then look at this years picture quality....I'm sure you'll agree the result is worth it. I tried covering some of the IR leds but didn't like the result. I also tried a roof window in my nestboxes this year....covered with a thin piece of plastic and sealed to keep water out...that really does help picture quality and the birds seem fine with it. Good luck with your nesting birds this year.
I see what you mean - excellent pictures. I only have a b/w camera - couldn't afford colour. Do you think swapping the i/r leds for visible light leds would improve things? Also, does artificial light not distract the birds in any way?
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Old Thursday 22nd April 2004, 13:18   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norbert
I see what you mean - excellent pictures. I only have a b/w camera - couldn't afford colour. Do you think swapping the i/r leds for visible light leds would improve things? Also, does artificial light not distract the birds in any way?
Secret, don't tell anyone though !!!!! Go to ebay and search for IR cameras and make sure you tick the box "available to UK" you will find good sellers in the USA that you can get the colour cameras for a few £'s you will pay $18 - $23 in shipping charges but only works out at less than £20 for a good nestbox cam. I've never had trouble with customs wanting to charge me VAT. I have bought several like this....just make sure seller has good feedback. I can give you ID of guy I deal with.

Ok Norbert
The extra lighting does not bother the birds one bit...look at Malcolm/Elizabeths & my site. They do not like the bright led's on at night though so put them on a timer switch. I ran a small 6v torch bulb from a power supply in last years box and it was on 24/7 and the birds reared all their chicks...this is not as bright as the led's though. So in short they don't mind the light one bit.
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Old Thursday 22nd April 2004, 15:37   #10
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Norbert

If you keep your B/W camera it will not matter whether you use White LEDs or Tungsten lighting as it will not be affected by the colour temp. Also I think B/W cams are more sensative to light than colour.

If you use a colour camera you will need both types of lighting to balance the cold blue light of the LEDs and the warm orange light of the tungten bulbs.

You should get a more lifelike result without your IR Leds as they tend to make grass and moss appear white.

In my colour cam box I use a variable power supply controlled remotely from my PC desk. I can then bring the lights up & down slowly without disturbing the birds.

This has the advantage of controlling the colour balance as well (the LEDs and Tungsten light kick in at different voltages).


You can see a B/W cam with IR and colour cam with LEDs and Tungsten lighting on my site here http://uk.geocities.com/brett.oliver...m/nest_box.htm

Hope this helps.

Brett
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Old Thursday 22nd April 2004, 15:57   #11
Elizabeth Bigg
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Fluffy allowed us to see her clutch this afternoon, just before 3pm. Last year she only laid 5 eggs! We are wondering if she will lay any more, or whether she will decide this is enough, and start incubating them.
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Old Thursday 22nd April 2004, 16:04   #12
Norbert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nobby
Norbert

If you keep your B/W camera it will not matter whether you use White LEDs or Tungsten lighting as it will not be affected by the colour temp. Also I think B/W cams are more sensative to light than colour.

If you use a colour camera you will need both types of lighting to balance the cold blue light of the LEDs and the warm orange light of the tungten bulbs.

You should get a more lifelike result without your IR Leds as they tend to make grass and moss appear white.

In my colour cam box I use a variable power supply controlled remotely from my PC desk. I can then bring the lights up & down slowly without disturbing the birds.

This has the advantage of controlling the colour balance as well (the LEDs and Tungsten light kick in at different voltages).


You can see a B/W cam with IR and colour cam with LEDs and Tungsten lighting on my site here http://uk.geocities.com/brett.oliver...m/nest_box.htm

Hope this helps.

Brett
Another great website - I didn't realise there were so many on line nest box cams! You have given me lots of ideas to play around with when the nest is empty. Maybe get mine online next year too.

My blue tits have also laid 9 eggs - and they have been incubating for a week or so now, so could start hatching soon. What is normal - is it around 14 days from start of incubation or what?
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Old Thursday 22nd April 2004, 16:26   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norbert
My blue tits have also laid 9 eggs - and they have been incubating for a week or so now, so could start hatching soon. What is normal - is it around 14 days from start of incubation or what?
Yes I think it is around 14 days so not long to go now.
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Old Thursday 22nd April 2004, 16:31   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth Bigg
Fluffy allowed us to see her clutch this afternoon, just before 3pm. Last year she only laid 5 eggs! We are wondering if she will lay any more, or whether she will decide this is enough, and start incubating them.
Elizabeth
I wonder what determins the number of eggs?
Could it be the age of the bird-do older females have more eggs or could it be the amount of food around in the early season?

Perhaps the fertility of the male also has a bearing?

Does anyone know of any studies?

Brett
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Old Thursday 22nd April 2004, 16:56   #15
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...older females have more eggs...

I've sort of gotten the idea that once birds are adults, not juveniles, they are much the same for as long as they live. Aging does not enter much into bird life so much as survival. Some sources I have heard from say they do not age as we do.
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Old Friday 23rd April 2004, 14:33   #16
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Did a bit of searching on Google and came up with the following pages from the BTO. Lots of info from records going back upto 30 years on clutch/brood sizes laying dates etc.for British wild birds.
The main page http://www.bto.org/birdtrends/contents.htm

Changes in breeding performance http://www.bto.org/birdtrends/discussion45.htm

and section on Blue Tits.
http://www.bto.org/birdtrends/wcrbluti.htm

Brett
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Old Saturday 24th April 2004, 21:08   #17
DavidJJones
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nobby
Elizabeth
I wonder what determins the number of eggs?
Could it be the age of the bird-do older females have more eggs or could it be the amount of food around in the early season?

Perhaps the fertility of the male also has a bearing?

Does anyone know of any studies?

Brett
Among the other variables, the size of the nest site can help determine the egg count (smaller box/hole - less eggs), as well as the 'quality' of the habitat (woodland v urban etc).

Also, the later that egg laying occurs, the fewer the eggs produced. I have been told that the Blue Tits time their egg-laying to coincide with the leaf burst on the oak trees. This means that the green caterpillars (can't remember the species) that feed on these leaves will be ready just in time for the hatchlings. The later hatching takes place, the older/bigger the leaves are, and the more toxins they contain that can make the caterpillars unpalettable to the chicks.

The females' reproductive capability declines from the age of 4 years, and their offspring then have lower survival rates.
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