BirdCam by WingscapesBy Tim Gallagher
April 15, 2008
For backyard birders who enjoy taking pictures of the birds at their feeders, Wingscapes has developed a great new product— the BirdCam. It is basically a weatherproof, motion-activated digital camera that will automatically snap still pictures or short bursts of video whenever the BirdCam’s infrared sensor detects a bird in its viewing area.
I can vouch for the fact that it is quick and easy to set up and start taking pictures. (I think it took me longer to figure out how to get it out of the box than it did to set it up for picture-taking.) The BirdCam can be easily attached to a post or tree trunk near your feeder by using the bungee cords (supplied) or setting it up on a tripod. I chose the latter, which made it easy to move the BirdCam around to a variety of locations in the Lab’s bird-feeding garden.
I simply placed the BirdCam about 18″ from the feeder (the minimum close-focus distance), adjusted the focus manually, and let the birds do the rest. They were completely unafraid of the device—in fact, goldfinches kept landing on top of it before going to the feeder.
In addition to the motion-activated feature, the BirdCam comes with a small, hand-held remote control, so you can snap pictures or take videos manually—a handy feature if you only want pictures of specific birds.
The BirdCam takes 3.1 megapixel jpeg digital images (High 2048×1536; Medium 1328×996; and Low 640×480) and 10-second videos (AVI files, 640×480, 10 seconds at 10fps). It has 32 megabytes of built-in memory but can also use an optional SD card, holding up to 4 gigabytes. Image output is through a USB cable, TV out, or an SD card. It is quick and easy to download the images to a computer. The BirdCam is powered by 4 D-cell batteries, or you can use an optional AC adaptor. It measures 9″ high by 3 5/8″ deep by 5 1/2″ wide and weighs 2 pounds 7 ounces including batteries. —Tim Gallagher
For more information, visit the Wingscapes web site at: www.wingscapes.com