How To Build a Homemade Bird Feeder Web Camera
Bird feeder web cameras are one of the many advantages of technology. If there is bad weather outside or you just don't feel leaving the house, you can still spend your time on your hobby.
Just start the computer and visit one of the many bird feeder webcam sites available. You have thousands of bird webcams available. Most of them are great and you will have a tough time choosing one of them.
But most bird feeder web cameras are located far away from your neighborhood, many even in another country. If you want to watch birds, living in your neighborhood, you can build your very own homemade bird feeder web camera.
Before we go into details on how to do it, let me explain to you some of the advantages of building a bird feeder webcam.
Many people enjoy bird watching because it is relaxing. But unless you put up a tent or anything similar to it, there is nothing relaxing about watching birds while is raining cats and dogs. Bird watching can be practiced normally only during good weather.
If you have a bird feeder webcam, you can watch birds even while it's raining, or even snowing. You can watch your homemade bird feeders from the comfort of your own home.
Almost all webcam applications allow you to record while you web camera is turned on. That means you can also record anything that is going on in front of your bird feeder web camera, even while you are not in front of your PC. This way you can get hundreds of hours of footage without you needing to be on your PC. Who knows, maybe your web camera s going to catch a species you didn't even know lives in your neighborhood.
Another big advantage is the distance you can put your camera near the bird feeder. Birds are shy creatures and normally you need binoculars to watch them closely. Birds may be afraid of you, but they are not bothered by the web camera. You can place the webcam as close as 20 centimeters from the bird feeder and birds will still visit it.
What Do You Need
Before you start to build anything, you have to collect all the materials you will need.
To build a bird feeder web camera, you need:
A bird feeder
You can either make a homemade bird feeder from scratch or you buy one at your local store. If I would include instructions on how to make a bird feeder, this page would be much longer, so for now I suggest you buy a cheap suet feeder.
If you want to make a bird feeder webcam, you will need a web camera. Any cheap webcam will do, you just have to make sure it has a long enough cable. The length of the cable will determine the distance your webcam can be from your computer. If you want to place your bird feeder farther away, you'll need to buy an extension cord, or a wireless web camera.
You will need the silicon to make any open holes airtight.
A glass jar with a plastic lid
The glass jar will contain the web camera so it's protected from weather influence.
Some scrap wood
You will need it to mount the web camera to the bird feeder.
When you gathered everything you need, it's time to start building your homemade bird feeder webcam. Since you already have a bird feeder, adding a web camera is pretty easy and self-explanatory.
- Find a good position to place your bird feeder. Depending on the length of the webcam USB cable, or the wireless signal strength, if you bought a wireless web camera, you will have to place the bird feeder close to the location of your PC.
- Once you found a good spot, place your bird feeder and make sure it can't be moved easily. You have two choices, either you place your bird feeder on a pole, or you place it on your windowsill. I do not recommend to hang your bird feeder or to place it directly on a tree. If you hang your bird feeder, even a small breeze would be enough to make it swing. Swinging mostly ruins the pictures. If you put your bird feeder directly on a tree, it's too easy for predators to reach and the birds wouldn't be safe.
- Now it's time to attach the web camera to the bird feeder. Make a small hole in the jar lid. The hole has to be just enough big to get the USB cable through. You will have to attach the web camera to the inner side of the lid. You can use screws and some scrap wood for that, or you just attach it with glue. If you choose to glue the camera to the inner side of the lid, make sure you use some quality glue, like a two-component adhesive. You can also use silicon to attack the web camera to the lid.
- screw the lid back on the jar. By now you should have a webcam in a jar. Use silicon to seal every possible opening. This way you'll prevent condensation inside.
- It is time to attach the webcam to the bird feeder. You will need some scrap wood for that. If you chose to put your bird feeder on a pole, you just need to attach a not too long board to the pole with some nails and a hammer.
- If you chose to put your bird feeder on your window sill, you will have to attach the bird feeder directly to one end of the board. You need enough room to place the board directly on your window sill without having to use nails or silicon. After all, you wouldn't want to ruin your windows.
- Attach the jar to the other end of the board. It's best if you use silicon for that. Drill a hole into the board, big enough for the USB cable to be put through. Now cover the whole jar lid with silicon. Next, attach the jar with the lid facing down. Make sure the web cam is on the view level of the bird feeder.
- You are done. Just connect the web camera to your computer and watch as the birds come to feed.
Applications to Use With Your Webcam
Chances are you already got some good software with your camera purchase. But not all of them support some features, like capturing video.
One application, you can use together with your bird feeder webcam is Yawcam. It is a free application with lots of features, like motion detection and image snapshots. It also supports streaming over the web. That functionality actually is the main feature of the application.
You can set up a bird feeder webcam which is being streamed over the internet so everyone can enjoy it. You can also set up motion detection so you won't miss any visitors to your bird feeder.
If you want to use Yawcam with your webcam, follow these easy steps:
- Install Yawcam
- Open the application and click on settings. Select "Detect Webcam".
- After you choose your webcam, click OK.
- Enable all the options in the control panel
- Click on "Settings," select the "Connection" tab and select "What's my URL?"
- Write down your "Stream" address. You will need this address in case you want to connect to your bird feeder web camera from another computer.
Weekend Project: Make a Birdfeeder Webcam
If anyone needs more detailed instructions on how to make bird feeders and bird feeder webcams, Makemagazine did a great YouTube video just on this topic.