Bird nest & nesting box with camera

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Below is your guide and information regarding the purchase of a bird nesting box with camera.

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Now that Spring is upon us, we have been blessed with the annual return of Bill Oddie's Springwatch !

And alongwith his reappearance , the newly generated bird watchers and influx of new and exciting products available to cater for their every need.

Here is a guide to assist eBayers in the purchase of their new Bird Nesting Box with Camera. Below you will find useful information regarding the design, what the camera specifications mean and following this read, you should be able to make an informed purchased of a good Bird Nesting Box Camera.

1. Do the materials that the bird box are made of have any effect on the birds? What do the RSPB say?

The RSPB recommend that bird nest boxes should have a minimum wall thickness of at least 15mm to ensure protection. They also recommend that bird nest boxes are made from natural wood which has NOT been pressure treated, since the leachates may harm the birds. Galvanized nails and screws should always be used so that their will be no sign of rust.

Untreated wood that is used for bird nest boxes prove to be more acceptable to birds, as over time they will weather naturally to blend into your garden better and thus become a part of your living garden. Although some products can be used , most will be harmful to birds. Ensure that you check that the protection coat that has been applied is animal friendly. Sadolin applied in a thin coat should be ok, as long as it is a thin coat.

2. Does the size of hole make any difference to what bird nest in my box?

Yes it does. The entrance hole size depends on the species of bird that you hope to attract. Below are some guidelines identifying the size hole required for a number of different species.

25mm for Bluetits, coaltits and marshtits, 28 mm for larger birds, tree sparrows and pied flycatchers, 32mm for house sparrows, nuthatches and lesser spotted woodpeckers, 45mm for starlings, 50mm for great spotted woodpeckers.

3. Does the design of the box make a difference?

Well Yes and No. Pitched and flat roofs really do not make a difference to which birds nest in the box. The location of the entrance hole does play an important part. It must be at least 125mm above the bottom of the nesting box. If it is less, young birds might fall out or be scooped out by a cat. The inside wall below the entrance hole should also have a rough finish to enable young birds to clamber up when its time for them to leave. A good bird Nesting box should also have adequate drainage holes in the bottom of the nesting area.

4. So what about the camera's? Which ones are better?

Check to see what size lens the camera has and what the viewing angle is. Basically, the smaller the lens the larger the viewing angle. Most bird boxes which are available have a 6mm lens which provide a viewing angle of 52 degrees. This will allow you to see the bottom of the bird box only, depending on where the camera has been mounted in the box. Due to the small space in the bird nest boxes, it is common sense that you will need a larger viewing angle to see all the action in the bird box. You should look for at least a 3.6mm to 2.1mm lens for the bird nest boxes. The 2.1mm lens will usallu provide you with a 110 degree viewing angle. These wide angle lens provide a wider shot enabling you to see a lot more. Some bird nest boxes have the camera mounted in the pitched roof, if the bird nest box also has a wide anle 2.1mm lens , you will be able to see the entrance hole to the bird nest box. This will provide you with a great shot of the young birds climbing up the rough inside wall making thier first trip to the outside world. You will also see the parent birds feeding the young birds a lot easier.

5. CCD or CMOS camera's? Whats the difference?

CCD and CMOS are codes for the chip that is used for the imaging sensor in mini camera's. The CMOS is pretty much standard and provides an average to good picture. The CCD chip provides a much greater clarity and is often more reliable. The CCD chip is like the HD of TV. If you can , pay the extra and get a CCD chip camera. I can assure you that you will not be disappointed. CCD chip camera's often have more TV lines than their counterpart CMOS chip camera's, again providing much smoother images and less TV flicker.

6. What about the Power and connecting it up?

Check to see of the power adapter supplied is a regulated power supply and that it is built to UK standards. Some of these camera's which are available are built in China and may not be 100% compatible in the UK. On the back of all the adapters you will find a specification which will tell you the required power input ( which in the UK should be 240V) and the power output( which should match the power specification on the camera).

The longer the cable the better for the birds nesting in yor bird box, but the poorer the picture signal may be. As a rule of thumb, the longer the cable is means that you will need a more power for the signal to travel along it. For a 20 metre cable you should look to use a power supply output of at least 12 volts with 1200mA. Also , BEWARE of some sellers out there who will include a long cable for the AV connections , but will not include a long cable for the power adapter. The Power adapters only come with about a 1.2 metre length cable. some sellers do have high quality cables , made for outdoor use with all three cables in one lead( Audio, Video and Power). Check to ensure that the cable you will be using is suitable for outdoor use.

7. How can I be sure abot the Bird Nest Box Camera I am buying is Good quality and Works?

Well , I recommend all potential buyers to ask as many questions as you can to the seller. From the sellers responses you should be able to get answers to all the questions which are popping round your head at the moment from reading this article. Ask the seller if the product is guarenteed. If it is , make sure you get a confirmation receipt. BEWARE, as many sellers offer the guarentee, but if you do not send back your receipt for an official stamp , it may not be guarenteed at all. Another safety tip is to pay for your bird nest box with camera through paypal. Most sellers will offer a £500 protection on all paypal transactions. This will usually appear in thier listings, if it does not just ask them to find out.

8. Where to site your new Bird Nest Box with Camera?

This depends on the species the box is intended for. Boxes for bluetits, sparrows or starlings should be fixed two to four metres up a tree or a wall. Unless there are trees and buildings which shade the box during the day, face the box between north and east, thus avoiding strong sunlight and the wettest winds. Make sure that the birds have a clear flight path to the nest without any clutter directly in front of the entrance. Tilt the box forward slightly so that any driving rain will hit the roof and bounce clear.

House sparrows and starlings will readily use nest boxes place high up under the eaves. Since these birds nest in loose colonies, two or three can be sited spaced out on the same side of the house. Keep these away from area's where house martins usually nest. Nest boxes are best put up in the autumn. Many birds will enter nest boxes during the autumn and winter, looking for a suitable place to roost or perhaps feed.

Open fronted boxes for Robins and Wrens need to be low down, below 2m, well hidden in vegetation.

Those for spotted Flycatchers need to be 2-4m high , sheltered by vegetation, but with a clear outlook. Wood pecker boxes need to be 3 - 5m high on a tree trunk with a clear flight path and away from disturbance.

9. How to maintain your Bird Nest Box?

The nests of most birds harbour fleas and other parasites, which remain to infest young birds that hatch the following year. It is recommended that old nests should be removed in the autumn, from august onwards once birds have stopped using the box. Use boiling water to kill any remaining parasites, and let the box dry out thoroughly before replacing the lid. Insecticides and flea powders must not be used. If there are unhatched eggs in the nesting box, these may be removed legally only between August and January, and must be disposed of. If you place a small handful of clean hay or wood shavings ( NOT Straw) in the box once it is thoroughly dry after cleaning, it may be used during the winter by small mammals to hibernate or by birds to roost. NEST BOXES SHOULD NOT BE INSPECTED WHEN THEY ARE USE.

10. Is the Camera Bird Nesting Box really worth it?

Yes it is. As Bird nest boxes should never be disturbed when in use, the camera will provide you with all the action happening inside , 24 hours a day.The birds will not be disturbed and you will watch all the action at home infront of your TV !!

11. Further Information....

Try joining one of the eBay discussion groups. I operate the BIRD WATCHERS UK group which is a friendly environment where you can share tips and information about general birding and you can also show off your photo's in the gallery. You will be able to find and share information freely and we are always looking for new members. So check it out by visiting the Community page and seacrhing for the group name, BIRD WATCHERS UK. See you there!

12. The problem with wireless nest boxes!

Bird nest boxes which have wireless camera's seem like a great idea and extremley easy, however, the following points should be considered when making a purchase....

  • Wireless camera's operate on 2.4Ghz which is the same frequency as wireless routers. this means you will have switch one or the other off for them both to work to correctly without interference. You will also see on your home PC when setting up your wireless connection that your PC will pick up next doors wireless router as well, which will also cause interference. Some wireless options do have a four channel selector allowing you to slightly alter the frequency to 2.41 / 2.42/ 2.43/2.44. This can reduce the interference , but not stop all.
  • You still need a wire to power to the bird box to power the camera. It would be ok if you have an outdoor power source within a 3 or 4 feet of the nest box camera , but this is often not the case as you would be placing your nest box on the side of your house or up a tree. Having a wire to power the camera sort of defeats the object of a wired camera.
  • some wireless nest box camera do come with a battery pack to power the camera , whether they be rechargeable batteries or not. Power consumption of the camera is relativly low, however during the night the or in poor light conditions when the infra red night vision kicks in , this increases the power consumption and may leave you without power to your camera. Bearing in mind that most of the action happens early in the morning and late in the evening, this would mean having to change or charge up your batteries at the crack of dawn.

13. Protecting from Squirrels ?

In order to protect your nest box from other visitors in your garden, a good trick which I learn't was to use holly leaves. Leave you holly leaves to dry out ( still on the vine) and then wrap around above and below your nest box on the tree trunk. If you have placed your nest box on a wall , create a frame all around the nest box. Remember to wrap some around your cable as well ! Those squireels will eat anything!

Well, I hope that this guide to Bird Nest Boxes and those with camera's has been of some help to you. Please rate the guide after you have read it. Good luck with your purchase and have lots of fun with your Bird Nest Boxes with Camera's.

Shaun 1521

KBC Stores - You can find a comparison table with all the data of the top five nest cams which are available to purchase on eBay.

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