Installing a camera into a birdhouse is an excellent way to watch nesting birds in your backyard. It provides you a great opportunity to get close to nature and get an insight into the mysterious world of birds. Once you get a bird box camera in hand, the next thing you do is to mount the camera into the birdhouse or nesting box. Here are some useful tips and guidelines to help you mount the camera in the birdhouse to get a satisfactory bird watching experience.
Before you start, you have several things to figure out. It’s essentially crucial that you need to find out if there are any feathery residents living in the birdhouse right this moment for it is prohibited to disturb any nesting site during the breeding season. Make sure you only install the camera in an unvisited shelter. Then you have to figure out what kind of birdhouse and gadgets you need to install the camera.
1. Choose a suitable birdhouse
Considering that different birds have distinct preferences for shelters, you had better find a suitable birdhouse to attract the specific kind of birds you want to observe. (If you already have a birdhouse or nesting box, then skip this step.) Choose a birdhouse made up of wood materials or similar components, for metal or ceramic shelters are not durable for long-term use in outdoor settings and fall short in thermal control. Pick one with a grooved front panel to help fledglings climb out of the birdhouse. Air ventilation is also important when choosing a birdhouse. A dry, well-circulated living condition can greatly minimize bacteria breeding and insect infestation. To attract small visitors, it’s totally advisable to choose a birdhouse with an accessible circular entrance at the size of 25mm, 28mm, 32mm or 38mm, etc. And choose one with removable panels and roof for installment, adjustment and maintenance.
2. Figure out the best place to install the birdhouse
Since different birds dwell at different heights, proper placement of the birdhouse makes a startling difference in increasing the attractiveness of your backyard. The birdhouse should be mounted in a relatively open area slightly downward to avoid strong sunlight and prevailing winds. It is best placed 1 to 3 meters above the ground in a hidden spot to avoid unwelcome predators. And the WiFi bird box camera should be installed in places with strong WiFi signals and little interference. And it is highly recommended to install the birdhouse in places where birdwatchers have a clear and unobstructed view.
3. Prepare the tools and equipment needed for installment
To install a camera into the birdhouse, you’ll need some supporting tools like a driller, a screwdriver, a double-sided tape (maybe some extra screws as well) and place the camera kit (a camera, a DC12V power adapter, a waterproof DC extension cable plus the bracket and screws pack) at hand. If the camera supports local storage, prepare a high-capacity SD (64/128GB) card as well. For outdoor applications, you’d better choose a waterproof camera to avoid water ingress. To guarantee 24/7 continuous recording, the camera must have excellent night vision (invisible infrared LEDs) without spooking the resident birds. Please continue to read Functions Required in an Effective Bird Box Camera System to find out the suitable camera.
4. Test the camera and WiFi signals if needed
Before the installation, it is highly recommended to test the camera in advance. Power it up and have it working overnight to see if it’s functioning flawlessly. If possible, connect the camera (IP-based ones) to your smartphone or other digital devices to make sure it works for remote observation. If you’re installing a WiFi camera, you also need to verify the WiFi signal at the installation site in advance. If the signal is weak, try to find another place or find other solutions to boost up the signal to ensure smooth live streaming.
Installing the Camera into the Box
After the preparation, let’s dive into the installation. The following is a step-by-step tutorial and hope you find it useful.
1. Remove the roof and drill a hole
The best type of birdhouse as previously mentioned is the one with a removable panel or roof for easy camera installment and adjustment. In most cases, the roof is tightly fixed on the birdhouse with screws, so you’ll need to use a screwdriver to unscrew the roof first. Once the roof is removed (panels in some cases), find the best place for installation and drill a hole for fixation accordingly (If you buy a birdhouse with a pre-drilled mounting point, then skip this step).
2. Fix the camera on the birdhouse
Most cameras come with a bracket for installation, so place the bracket on the attachment point (the hole you drill for fixation in the last step) and fix it with a screw (included in the screw pack). Remember to keep it in line for a better viewing angle. Attach the camera to the bracket with provided screws on both sides and remove the protective cap from the camera. If the camera supports local recording, please insert the SD card into the slot in advance and seal it with stickers. Then you have to make a proper notch at the edge of the birdhouse to run the cable out of the box and use some clips to fasten the cable if possible.
3.Power the camera up
To power the camera, there are two methods: mains power and motorcycle battery. If you have an AC outlet nearby the installation site, then you can simply run a power cord to power up the camera. It’s always the most reliable and stable power source to keep the camera operating 24/7, 365 days. But for long-range applications, especially in remote areas where there’s no available electrical infrastructure, the motorcycle battery is obviously a cost-effective and highly portable power solution, which gives you great flexibility on (re)placement, eliminating expensive and complicated cable running. Normally, a motorcycle battery only costs you $100 (even lower), while installing a new electrical outlet will cost nearly $185. But remember to change the battery when the birds are away from the birdhouse.
Now, we’re gonna illustrate how to power up a WiFi camera with mains power supplies. Normally, the WiFi bird box camera has two connectors, one for power charge and another for WiFi/camera settings (the reset button). Connect one side of the waterproof extension cable to the power connector, connect the other side to the DC 12V power adapter, and then plug the adapter into the AC outlet. But there is still a major flaw when using mains power supplies. Since the camera is hardwired for power supply, more extension cables might be needed if the installation site is far from the direct power source.
4. Connect the camera to watching devices
Different cameras have distinct ways of data transmission. HDMI cameras usually rely on HDMI converters/boxes to stream the video from the source camera to the TV or other HDMI-compatible monitors (DVR-digital video recorder in analog cameras), while IP cameras usually run the footage to digital devices directly to your home router. Once connected, you can watch live feeds on your smartphone, tablet or PC. As for WiFi cameras, you don’t need any equipment for signal conversion. The camera is equipped with a built-in network, with which you can get access to remote observation through the app to watch live videos on your phones or tablets. Or you can reset the wireless network by pressing the reset button to disarm the existing networking and use the app to install your own WiFi network.
5. Adjust the focus and boost the lighting
When you successfully connect the camera to the smartphone or monitor, adjust the focus accordingly by moving the lens clockwise and counter-clockwise until you get a clear image on the monitor. Normally, it’s pretty dark inside the birdhouse, so it would be better if you can afford a night-vision camera with infrared LED lighting to record the birds all day long. Or you can open some air ventilators or windows (remember to cover them with plastics or other waterproof but translucent materials to avoid water splashes) on both sides of the birdhouse to ensure enough lighting.
6. Mount the birdhouse to the selected location
When all’s done, the final step is to install your birdhouse on the selected spot, but remember to seal the rooftop first. Considering that most bird box cameras are not waterproof, apart from fixing the roof with screws, it’s better to double-fix it with double-sided tapes. After the final installation, double-check if the camera is functionally well in your backyard. Then the last thing you can do is patiently waiting for those little creatures to visit your birdhouse.
Tips to help you boost WiFi signal:
Relocate your router——The signal will be compromised when the connected device is out of coverage or in cases that it gets blocked by electromagnetic waves or impenetrable walls. To solve this problem, it’s better to move the router closer to the camera in places with little interference and fewer barriers.
Get a WiFi extender——If simply relocating the router can’t put things right, you can buy a waterproof extender to boost the signal. The extender will receive the signal from your router and rebroadcast it to the camera to ensure smooth live streaming.
Get a PLC adapter——The PLC adapter is a device that allows you to transmit the signal of your Internet connection through the wiring of your home. The PLC adapter will connect to the outlets in your home, creating a connection network in a room where the signal cannot reach.
Get an Xtreme WiFi camera——Lately, Green Backyard has developed a long-range wireless outdoor IP bird box camera that can support data transmission of up to 800 meters (from the camera to the receiver), giving you great flexibility on placement. Its enhanced network performance allows the signals to pass through multiple walls without severe attenuation. For more information, please go check our website！