Best bird box cameras for wildlife watching | BBC Countryfile … – BBC Countryfile Magazine

The Countryfile guide to the best bird box cameras to use this nesting season
For many years, feeding birds offered us the best way to get lasting, close-up views of the lives of our garden wildlife. It was only on programmes such as Springwatch that we could see into the birds’ nests and watch the drama of eggs hatching, and chicks being fed and eventually fledging.
Nowadays we can experience the same thrill in our own homes and gardens – and we don’t need hi-tech BBC camera teams. Miniature cameras fixed in bird boxes that broadcast to TVs, PCs and even phones now exist for less than £50 – and the technology is improving all the time, with wireless systems offering the simplest set-ups.
So now you can host your own mini-Springwatch and see species such as blue tits and great tits through their dramatic breeding season – in your own garden.
The best bird box cameras come in a range of different designs, some more convenient to use than others.
One choice you’ll have is whether you buy a full bird box camera kit or just invest in a camera to add to your own bird box. Generally, a full kit is the simpler option when it comes to installation. Most arrive pre-installed, saving you a lot of time and effort.
Some of the best bird box cameras are listed as ‘wireless’ but they’re unlikely to be completely free from cables, as most use mains electricity. However, some wireless bird box camera kits stream the footage to your phone using Wi-Fi, which can help you avoid stringing an extra cable from the box to your TV or computer.
Kits listed as ‘wired’ usually have two sets of cables: one connecting the camera to mains electricity and the other connecting it to your TV or computer. Some of the best bird box camera kits come with scart or HDMI adaptors, or give you the option to buy them separately.
Audio and video quality varies depending on the kit you buy, but the best bird box cameras have sensitive microphones and invisible infrared lighting to provide clear images overnight.
Some bird box camera kits are designed to stream live footage in real time. Others come with a motion sensor and SD card slot to save video clips when the camera detects movement. You may also be able to stream footage on your phone if your bird box camera connects to an app.
Green Feathers is the brand behind some of the best bird box cameras you can buy, and has more than a decade of experience designing and creating them.
This one includes a wide-angle-lens camera with a 110-degree field of view, so you’ll be able to see the whole nest inside the bird box.
There are also six night vision LEDs casting an invisible infrared light with no red glow to disrupt your feathery friends.
To get started, connect the camera to the mains power and plug the receiver into your TV to start watching live footage.
BirdBoxView has incorporated some clever design features into this smart garden accessory. It’s got an in-built microphone, so you can hear the birds chirping, and an opaque side window to boost the camera’s picture quality.
While you’ll see monochrome images for most of the day and night, you can expect to see muted colour when the sun comes out.
Also, the base has a ventilation slot for air flow and the roof is removable for easy cleaning.
You’ll need to connect this nest box to your TV to see the livestream. It comes with AV jacks but you can also buy the kit with a scart or HDMI adapter.
This bird box from the RSPB is another solid choice. It comes with a long 30m cable to connect it to your TV, but you can also buy a USB adaptor if you want to view the footage on your computer.
This model makes it easy to get closer to your feathered visitors, with high-resolution images and an in-built microphone. You’ll see colour footage during the day and an infrared black-and-white picture at night.
As you’d expect from the RSPB, the bird box itself is made sustainably from FSC-certified timber from responsibly managed sources.
Thanks to the Wi-Fi-enabled camera in this bird box, you can stream footage to your phone without any annoying wires. Plus, it comes with a motion sensor and micro SD card slot, giving you the chance to record exciting footage and replay it in the app.
Other big plus points include the 92-degree wide camera lens, the microphone and the light sensor, which gradually turns on the night vision LEDs when the light dims.
This is one of the best bird box cameras to buy if you’re after a quick and easy option, as it arrives pre-assembled with the camera positioned and focussed.
If you live near woodland or you’ve got owl populations in the local area, you could aim your sights a little higher and install one of these RSPB-approved boxes. It’s designed specifically for barn owls, and comes with a colour and infrared camera and a microphone pre-installed to capture their activity.
The pack comes with a 10m power cable and a wireless transmitter and receiver. There’s also an adaptor to connect the receiver to an HDMI cable for viewing on a TV or computer (you’ll need to buy the cable separately).
Here’s another one of the best bird box cameras you can buy online. It comes from the RSPB, and it’s crafted from FSC-certified pine.
It’s another fantastic option if you don’t want to deal with many cables, as it’ll give you the option of watching the action on its companion app. There’s audio and infrared video, as well as a motion sensor and SD card slot to help you capture interesting footage.
Alice is a digital writer with a knack for tracking down the most innovative and exciting products to hit the market. Working across several of Our Media's special interest brands, she's written for publications including Countryfile, Gardens Illustrated and Science Focus. Outside of work – and lusting over homeware and gardening products – you’ll find her rambling in the great outdoors or watching an old film.
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