Setting up a nest camera?

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 Graeme G 18 Feb 2021

We have a nest in a clematis bush next to our house and I was thinking of setting up my GoPro so we could have a view into the nest to see how the eggs/chicks grow.

Has anyone ever done this? I obviously don’t want to scare the birds off so the nest is left empty. 

 wilkesley 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Graeme G:

Have a look on Amazon for Nature Cam. These are battery powered cameras which have a long (several weeks) battery life. You can configure them to only trigger when they detect movement. Most of them will work at night using IR illumination. We have got one which we use to record the hedgehogs. I think almost all Nature cams only record in black and white.

The problem with using a GoPro is the very limited battery life.

In reply to Graeme G:

I bought my mum a camera bird box last year. Specifically this one : https://gardenature.co.uk/product/ip-camera-bird-box-system-sideview

The IP camera itself is quite good. The software supplied with it to run on the PC is garbage. We have the camera powered by POE wired to the network. We also have a small synology NAS on the same network that we use for backup and use Surveillance Station running on that to record the video from the box. The camera works using the standard ONVIF profile. It sends me an email whenever there is movement. Currently, that's limited to changing from colour to B&W IR overnight. It will also share as a live stream on youtube for public viewing, which I will enable if/when we get anything in the box. It's only been up over the winter and is in the same position as a traditional and previously occupied box so hoping for something this spring. 


 Kean 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Graeme G:

I had a blackbird's nest in our hedge and simply velcroed my iphone to an appropriate branch (when the parents were "out for lunch"). Got some outstanding footage and cobbled together a short video with some music accompaniment. Was very proud of the result! The nest was at head height, barely concealed, next to a main road with an equally busy pavement. Hundreds of people walking past every day yet the birds managed to raise 3 chicks. Nature finds a way! 

 Graeme G 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Kean:

Thanks all. I was thinking of using the GoPro as I can switch it off and on with my phone. Should be able to use one of my GoPro ‘handles’ to attach to the branches of the bush. The idea was to catch footage whenever I wanted it, rather than rely on motion.

Sounds like I can wait until it’s occupied and just be really careful as to not disturbing the nest when I place the GoPro.

 Myr 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Graeme G:

Be careful. Some birds can be spooked by new objects being placed next to nests. Cameras are particularly prone to causing desertion, perhaps because they have eye-like shapes on the front.

Particular species are susceptible to this, but particular individuals of any species are susceptible to this. So there's really no rule with which to know whether birds are going to respond by deserting. A couple of tips, if you are determined to do this:

- Set the camera back as far as you possibly can

- Watch to make sure the adults happily return to the nest after the camera is installed.

- Birds are less likely to desert if they have invested more in a nesting attempt - i.e. if it is at a later stage. Therefore desertion may be less likely if you install a camera at a later stage (although if you cause desertion later on it will have a higher cost in terms of breeding season wasted).

Another lower-risk option, if you are just interested in keeping an eye on how they are doing, is just to make a short visit to the nest every week or so. 

 Graeme G 18 Feb 2021
In reply to Myr:

Thanks. Desertion is my biggest concern. We hear them every year. Nipping in and out to feed, and we can hear the chicks feeding. Would be lovely to see them, but not at the expense of their  abandonment.


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