Backyard Outdoor Camera in Canada :
What started out being just an outdoor camera so my Mom could watch me garden, now it's also being used as bird feeder camera.
This was like over 10 years ago when outdoor cameras were not very popular.
At first I hooked up bird feeders in front of the cameras, so I could see the garden as well as the birds. Then as with everything else, most of our birds were going to the platform feeders. So, now what? Well, I built an extension to the bird feeder so I could attach a camera. Still not ideal, but most of my bird pictures on this website were taken with our outdoor cameras.
What type of outdoor cameras am I using?
We started out using IP Cameras from D-Link and V-Star ... both with 2.4Ghz WiFi. The connections turned out to be unreliable, mostly because of interference on the 2.4 GHz band. Then we switched to mostly ReoLink PoE (Power over Ethernet) cameras to avoid the WiFi interference, these have proven to be much more reliable.
How do I install the cameras myself?
All of the Outdoor cameras we have used come with an integrated mount that is intended to be screwed onto a wall or ceiling. There is a bit of problem with focal length to consider when doing this. Most of these outdoor IP cameras have an 'in focus' range of somewhere between 3 feet (1 meter) and infinity ... which means that things less than 3 feet away from the camera tend to be a bit out of focus. I think ours are about 2 feet - sometimes birds are out of focus, but they look like a bird.
How do I Connect a Webcam to a Bird feeder?
We added a piece of wood where we wanted to mount the cameras and used that to attach the camera. We had to extend the mount point about 2 feet or more away from where we expected to see the birds.
How do I View Birds on my PC, Phone etc.:
Although there is a decent quality viewing application for each of the different cameras, these are difficult to co-ordinate and are usually not compatible with other types, especially different manufacturers. So, we use a 'Surveillance Program' that accepts many different makers and models of cameras. They produces a common type of video output from all of the different supported camera types. We are currently using Synology Surveillance Station and it has been working well for us. There are other similar programs, but all have license fees ... the cost of the Synology Surveillance System license is a one time charge of few hundred $ for 6 cameras. However, it does require a Synolgy NAS device to run on, which can be expensive. Synology produces a variety of client applications for nearly every kind of internet connected device that can display video that is kept current and does not cost anything to download. If you want to learn more about it, this URL should work: https://www.synology.com/en-global/surveillance
When do birds Feed - best time to watch birds?
Well, my birds eat before I do. Sometimes they are having breakfast before 7:00 AM. Supper around 5-8PM in the summer time.
I also see them at the feeders all day as well.
With Synology Surveillance Station Client you can review the past few days, or use "Instant Replay" and catch up with any action you missed during the day.
You can also take snap shots of pictures you want to keep that will be stored on your client PC, Tablet or Phone etc.
Time to watch birds - is during feeding time. You can get some really nice surprises. Bird watching from the comfort of your home during the winter time, is awesome. :)
My next camera purchase?
Most of the cameras we use now are ReoLink Brand PoE (Power over Ethernet) cameras, these are reliable, but the cables limit the places we can install them. I would like to buy a "really wireless" IP camera that runs on a solar recharging battery and connects with both 2.4GHz and 5Ghz WiFI.
I would also like to find and buy a "nesting camera" that can be installed inside a bird house. This will have to be able to focus on very near objects and be quite small, we are still looking for a suitable camera to try out. We think it will be a good idea for this camera to also be battery operated and use a 5GHz WiFi connection, and expect that it will have to be a two component system with a small camera inside the birdhouse and the WiFi and Battery Power in a separate compartment that can be mounted outside the birdhouse and connected to the actual camera with a thin cable.
Not sure if it will work any better than what I already have, but I would like the ability to have a Bird house or feeder further away from the house as well. Right now all of our outdoor cameras are attached to our house with a single Ethernet cables for both Power and Signal.