birdcamming

November 12, 2007

in Other reviews

Like some other bloggers, I was provided with a Wingscapes BirdCam to futz around with. While I’ve been waiting for something spectacular to show up (my heart has been set on a Harris’s Sparrow or Evening Grosbeak), everybody else has debuted their results and thoughts. The Birdfreaks posted both photos and samples of video clips,  John has had a variety of birds and even been getting Red-backed Salamanders (well, maybe not photographed by the BirdCam), and Patrick provided the ultimate soup-to-nuts review.

I’ve had the best luck placing it on the ground and scattering some seed, or putting it next to my pond. I have moved a feeder close to the house and placed the BirdCam on the windowsill, but prefer my feeders in the center of the yard. I don’t have a practical way to set the BirdCam up aimed at the feeders at the moment. I may have to buy the mounting arm/bracket available from Wingscapes, or rummage through the basement and rig something up, much like Bill Schmoker described. So far my biggest beef is that it requires a lot of light. Winter here is pretty gloomy, and it stays in "night mode" much of the day when it’s overcast.  Anyway, here are some "highlights."

Birdcamamro_2

American Robins have been the best subjects so far. If a Varied Thrush ends up here, I’ll be in luck.

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Birdcamamropond

Proper focus range seems a tad tricky, too. I get a lot of warblers and other migrants bathing or drinking where the left-most robin is. The focus here is set at 24 to 37 inches, but the focus here is much better at the closer end.

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Birdcamheth

This Hermit Thrush would have preferred mealworms, but can’t find the complaint box.

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Birdcamfluff

Rocky decided the lens needed a little bit of dusting.
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Birdcamfeel

"I just have that creepy feeling that someone is watching me…"
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Birdcamaha

"Ah-ha! I knew it!"

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Butts

Note to self: Do not forget where you put the BirdCam and when it is on.


{ 10 comments }

Rurality November 13, 2007 at 8:52 am

Interesting. It makes me wonder if our Cuddeback game cam would work the same way, if we trained it on a bird feeder.

Does this one trigger on heat?

Nuthatch November 13, 2007 at 2:06 pm

Heat and motion, although I once triggered it by tossing bird seed in front of it.

Mike McDowell November 13, 2007 at 2:36 pm

Ha! I passed up on the birdcam. Perhaps that was a mistake.

Mike M.

Nuthatch November 13, 2007 at 4:56 pm

Well, it can't hold a candle to what you do, Mike. But then again, I'm not sure you'd ever take (and publish) a shot like my last one.

John November 13, 2007 at 6:53 pm

For photographing feeders, I have mostly used a small tripod except in a few cases where I could secure the cam to a tree or post.

Jenn November 13, 2007 at 11:45 pm

That first robin image is pretty amazing for a cam that is just taking 640×480 shots!

Bart Stephens November 14, 2007 at 1:58 pm

I'm dipping into blogs when I can to track people's comments. A few notes…

1. John, it actually shoots at 2048×1536 at the High Resolution setting. Video and Photo (Low Res) are 640×480. Photo (Medium Res) is 1328×996

2. Vs. a Cuddeback…the principle is the same, but most of these "Game Cams" are calibrated to disregard small animals (hunters do not want to see birds and squirrels). There are some other key differences between the BirdCam and various game cams. See…
http://www.wingscapes.com/FAQs/#faq2

3. Re: Tripod…we've just introduced a very flexible mounting arm. See…
http://www.wingscapes.com/productdetail.aspx?id=WSBR01

Thanks,
Bart Stephens
Wingscapes Product Manager

Nuthatch November 14, 2007 at 2:15 pm

I've seen the mounting arm…that looks worthwhile. At the moment I don't have a spare quick release mount that will fit my spare tripod, and anything I put out there will need to have a baffle underneath it or the squirrels will use it as a launch pad to jump on the feeders.

Birdfreak November 14, 2007 at 4:00 pm

I threw out all my reject shots (of me looking stupid) but I've noticed the camera works well for catching the dogs acting goofy!

I agree that it would be nicer if the camera worked in lower light (even if the shots weren't great, just to know what was there)

Phantom Midge November 14, 2007 at 8:42 pm

I love your captions! The Monteray Bay Aquarium has a bird cam on their website(one of many) that I enjoy looking at over lunch and sometimes you do get to see the backside of a staff member cleaning the feeding area;-)

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