With the invention of bird box cameras, many birders and birdwatchers can now enjoy bird watching from the comfort of their homes. Green Backyard has developed different models that can be viewed on your smartphone, tablet, and PC to allow you to observe wildlife 24/7. Image quality is crucial in delivering a satisfactory birdwatching experience, but it’s rarely known that lighting can significantly influence the final result of your videos.
Challenging Day Light for Recording
The most important variable in wildlife shooting is lighting. When the bird box camera works in good light, you will get the richest colors and the birds will look more striking than usual with the most realistic color reproduction. Although birds have both light and dark parts, it can be difficult to expose the darker parts without overexposing the light parts, so these birds are sometimes better exposed to ambient light. Direct sunlight renders feather detail better than indirect or artificial light. But in general, nest boxes are usually placed in a shady spot out of direct sunlight so as to last longer, but this can create unpleasant shadows and lead to poor lighting conditions. A lot of nature photography is all about waiting for the right light, and that’s especially true with birds. However, on days with plenty of cloud cover, you’ll start to struggle since the nest box itself will become dark inside.
Lighting is crucial to create a successful image. To deliver better image quality and add some natural lighting to your bird box in low-light conditions, our wireless bird box camera is equipped with daytime LEDs which are fully controllable via the app. They can be scheduled to run in specific periods or manually turned on/off when needed. Since the daytime LEDs can be configured to only operate during the day, they won’t disturb the birds. Compared with the daylight LED lamp, which normally needs a separate power supply, the daytime LEDs are built inside the bird box camera, so there is no need to run a separate power cord across your backyard, which makes it safer in outdoor applications. To adjust the brightness, you can also cover some of the illuminators with filters to diffuse the lighting. Please be aware that the daytime LEDs are limited to daytime use only, and not applicable to nocturnal animals.
Dim the Lights for Birds at Night
Artificial light can be biologically disruptive to a bird’s health. It disturbs most of the natural activity rhythms of birds and affects their seasonal activity patterns altogether. Long-term exposure to white light at night can jeopardize their breeding success and sleep physiology. For example, under the influence of artificial light at night, blackbirds breed up to a month earlier. Although daytime LEDs come in handy in delivering decent image quality, they’re reported to have important ecological and evolutionary consequences on wildlife of all kinds. Therefore, you should only use infrared LEDs for illumination at night, especially when you’re watching nocturnal birds like barred owls, nightjars, common nighthawks, etc., and other wildlife like hedgehogs and bats.
Low Glow or No Glow?
There are two main types of flash available in night-vision wildlife cameras: low glow (red glow) and no glow. Low-glow LEDs, also known as 850nm after the spectrum of light they use, are one of the most common LEDs used in wildlife recording. Although the light they emit is invisible, when the night vision is triggered, you would see a faint red glow from the LEDs. The red glow is generally faint but can still be seen when looking directly at the camera, which can scare most wild game away. The 850nm infrared spectrum is closer to visible light, giving you a better range of infrared flash and making it easier for you to spot wildlife at a greater distance. It gives you about 30% more IR light compared to its counterpart, so you’ll get better results at nighttime recording. Therefore, the nesting birds can be captured with greater clarity and the definition on night videos is also much better.
No-glow cameras simply do not display light when recording at night. Bird species have similar sensitivity to IR light as humans so they can see the low-glow but not the no-glow. And since these no-glow LEDs do not give off the red glow when triggered, they are almost completely invisible to most bird species. But this advantage however comes with a major setback. They lose around 30% of the IR light as compared to the low-glow LEDs. The image will be a bit blurry and grainy since these IR LEDs adopt an infrared spectrum of 940nm. Moreover, most no-glow LEDs have a limited infrared range, but given that the bird box camera is normally used in enclosures like nest boxes, the distance will not be a problem. Since birds can be easily startled by flashes and noises, to target such wildlife scared easily by a red glow, the no-glow LEDs are obviously a better choice.
Apart from the daytime LEDs, our wireless bird box camera is also equipped with invisible infrared LEDs to record the nesting birds at night to secure 24/7 recording without spooking the birds. It has a sensitive ICR auto-switch to configure the camera automatically turn on the infrared LEDs in low-light conditions and switch off the daytime LEDs. Moreover, the night vision can be manually turned on and off via the app and can even be scheduled to work in certain periods to capture amazing close-up views of the wild birds. It can produce pin-sharp black-and-white images at night.
Wireless Bird Box Camera – Dual Lighting
This wireless bird box camera is designed with a rugged build that offers extra durability in a variety of settings, giving you peace of mind in outdoor applications and more flexibility on placement. The resolution is at 3MP and so will give a you reasonably good high-definition picture. This wireless bird box camera is equipped with both daytime and infrared LEDs to provide a clear view all day. A highly sensitive microphone (7000 Hz) is also incorporated so you can hear every cheep and ruffle inside the birdhouse. Equipped with a wide-angle lens, it yields a 120-degree angle range to give you the best possible perspective inside the birdhouse. Once connected to the network, this bird box camera will automatically record and stream the live feeds to your smartphone, tablet, and PC. You can even configure the camera to only activate when the birds are active. The bird box camera also includes a memory card slot so that you can record the best moments.