Birds are ‘flighty’ little creatures. No matter how quietly you approach them, they always seem to hear you and fly off before you’ve had a chance to observe them. But there’s something relaxing about birds – their ability to fly wherever and whenever they like is something I’m pretty sure we’d all love to have – and most of us, at one time or another, have stood and watched quietly as our little feathered friends hop merrily about the garden.
But wouldn’t it be nice to observe them more closely? Come on, who hasn’t felt a little festive magic when a robin has appeared on the garden fence, that flash of red heralding the beginning of Christmas? Or delighted in the promise of warm summer days at the first signs of a swallow soaring through the sky. What is that saying? One swallow does not a summer make? Maybe not, but it brings the hope of one in the near future.
Building a bird box will bring them to your garden, and if you’re lucky you will be blessed with the patter of tiny feet (yes, they are called feet! Claws are the sharp bits – the nails if you like). Blackbirds and robins lay eggs several times a year, and if you make sure your bird box is a ‘des res’ the same birds will return again and again to bring their young into the world. Building a nest takes a lot of time and hard work, so if they have a place to come back to again, they will. Build it and they will come!
Still, having a bird box alone doesn’t ensure lots of avian action – you might get glimpses of their tail feathers as they go in, or their beaks as they emerge, but that’s about it. Wouldn’t it be fun, not to mention educational, (especially if you have little ones), to see what goes on inside the box?
Setting up a bird box camera is easier and less expensive than you think, and will be time and money well spent for your very own ringside seat to the world of birds. They’re busy little creatures you know – exploring their new home, investigating it, ‘talking’ to each other – all of these things go on in the private life of the bird. Plus, you have the main event to look forward to, watching as they bring materials into the box to build a nest, lay the eggs, and then the joy of watching the eggs hatch and the tiny new birds emerging into the world.
So, how do you know which camera to buy? Well, there are a few things to consider. For instance, do you want a wired camera or wireless?
A wired camera requires two cables – one for power and one for the TV signal. They tend to give excellent picture quality, but you need to consider whether the cables will get in the way of children, pets, or gardening. This kit, for instance, includes everything you will need to set up and watch the birds coming and going. With both day and night vision, this wide-angled bird box camera also comes with a USB Video Capture Device, which allows you to record to your Windows PC, so you never miss a thing.
A wireless camera, on the other hand, still needs one cable for power, but this can be run from an outbuilding or shed, for instance. The signal could be affected by other wireless equipment nearby, though, and if you have trees in or around your garden, these can also block the signal. With six night vision LED lights, this wireless model also allows 24-hour birdwatching, and the lights are bright enough to be able to see what’s going on inside the box, without being so bright that they disturb the birds. You also have the option of adding more cameras later on if you decide to install more bird boxes. Be warned – it’s addictive!
The cameras themselves are tiny – they are fitted with a bracket inside the bird box and are small enough that they don’t bother the birds at all (think of the size of a matchbox and you won’t be far off). The wireless cameras can reach up to 50m between receiver and camera, although that distance can be compromised if there is any interference. If you have a large garden, you might be better off thinking about a wired camera, as they offer a much longer distance while still maintaining excellent picture quality.
The added bonus of the wireless cameras is that, by having the option of adding more on to the system, you don’t have to be confined to just birds. If you are lucky enough to have hedgehogs, foxes, or even badgers taking refuge in your garden then you can set up a camera to watch for those, too! (How else do you think John Lewis caught them all jumping on the trampoline at Christmas?).
If you do have children or grandchildren, you will start to instil in them a love of nature as they watch it unfolding before their eyes, not to mention providing a warm, comfortable and, most importantly, safe home for the birds to nest in.
There is a saying about raising children that states that in order to do right by them, you need only give them two things – roots, and wings. The same could be said for birds – with a bird box you are providing a home, and also providing them with the space to spread their wings and learn to fly.
Add a bird box camera, and you will have a window into that world you helped to create.
With thanks to Linda Firth who runs the Lifestyle blog at LoveMyVouchers.co.uk, where you will find her money saving advice and tips for the home and garden.
Discover more bird box cameras from Green Feathers.