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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Security Cameras repurposed as Birding Cameras (1 Viewer)

WESO

Member
United States
More than a year ago I installed a few low-cost (around US$50 - $75) Blink security cameras for my father in Virginia. No human trespassers were found, but he began sharing plenty of videos of wildlife. As a backyard bird feeding enthusiast, it immediately dawned on me that they could be used as bird feeder cameras.
The benefits are that I'm able to view bird behavior up close without being close myself. It also allowed me to realize which passing migrants made quick stops to my feeder. For instance, I put the first cameras up in October after moving to the Orlando area of Florida and soon had a few videos of passing Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. Not long after, a female Painted Bunting showed up. After seeing the Painted Bunting, I researched the types of food and feeders they prefer.
I started with Wyze Outdoor cameras, and have moved onto Eufy battery cameras with a built in solar charger. I use a S220, as I did not want an integrated spotlight for obvious reasons, and it includes a built-in solar panel. I also have a couple of C210s (no integrated solar panel) inside feeders with an external solar panel wired to it. To make the cameras less visible to passerbys, I also installed black silicone covers. Finding gadgets to put a camera, via the 1/4" mount, is amazingly easy on Amazon. I think the people making YouTube videos have created that demand.
I prefer Eufy now, despite the increased individual camera cost, to Wyze and Blink as there is no yearly cost to actually view the videos and it connects directly to my Wifi instead of base station. However, I do prefer the Wyze App's video event section, as the clips are larger. Usually I check the photo of the event before deciding if it is worth it to watch the actual video. I'm just sharing this in case anyone else has thought of doing something similar. It has been a great way to get a get a great upclose view of the birds in my backyard, and to see things that I would not have otherwise seen. The various companies are probably not interested in these uses for the cameras, but it would be great if their AI could someday identify bird species automatically. I have used Merlin Sound ID and Photo ID with the results of the videos. From what I have seen, you cannot use the video events to log a sighting in eBird. However, using the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks as an example, once I saw the video I made sure that I was watching the feeders more carefully so that I could view and record them in the proper way. I cannot speak to whether these cameras are available outside of the US, or if they function in similar ways. I've attached some examples of videos, but I will say that they look much better when viewed in the app on my phone.
 

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