I unexpectedly ended up with a family of chickadees nesting in a birdhouse 12 inches from my kitchen window this spring after having randomly set the bird house down after taking it off a dead tree that was cut down last fall. I think this is the first time the bird house has ever been used!
I have a reolink argus 3 solar powered camera and am disappointed that the birds don’t trigger the motion sensor. After several days of trial and error I have determined that the camera must be at least 12 inches from the bird house for the motion sensor to detect them (only 75% of the time). It detects me easily even when I am out of view of the camera as I pass by on my deck. PIR = Passive InfraRed so I guess it makes sense that birds don’t put out much body heat.
I have a couple wildlife experiments I want to do setting camera traps out. Are there any recommendations for cameras that work well in the field and are very sensitive to detect small animals and birds? (The solar panel to the reolink works well.)
PS: It has been fun watching all the various insects that the chickadee parents bring back to their 4 babies. I can sit on the kitchen counter only inches away from them to watch. :)
Birds actually generate good body heat - their temps are higher than humans generally, though they have feathers, so the surface temp will be lower. I would guess one issue might be the background temp - if it is summer and the background temp object is high, the birds may not trigger as they are small - you being a much bigger warm object may trigger better. So you can try positioning the camera so that the background object temp is cooler and there is more of a temp contrast.
Most security cameras are designed to ignore small creatures even at close range. Most homeowners don’t want to be notified every time a mouse runs across the yard at night or a moth flutters in front of the camera. Also, as you pointed out they have a fairly hefty minimum focus distance. Trail cameras are much better at detecting small creatures as long as you set the sensitivity to high. An even better option would be one of the ever-increasing numbers of feeder and nest cameras that are purpose-built for photographing backyard birds up close.
We had satisfying results with our Eufy WI-FI security cameras picking up wildlife around the house. Two were solar-powered and two were rechargeable; e.g. USB, or such. The cameras could be set to pick up small animals — we often captured video of lizards scurrying across the patio. I cannot speak to the near-focus distance, though.
I use one of these https://www.amazon.com/Activated-Waterproof-Security-Surveillance-Wildlife/dp/B083WTC5XF?ref_=ast_sto_dp and with all the sensitivity settings maxed I have gotten videos of baby voles in the leaf litter, to get this I put it 1 foot off the ground on a tree so that small animals near the camera are within the field of view
There are so many good and inexpensive trail camera options these days. I’ve never used one to look for baby voles but I did use one to see who was stealing the food out of my live rat trap. Sure enough, it was a mouse who could just squeeze out through the bars if it accidentally triggered the trap.
Thanks for inspiring me to try setting my trail cam very low to the ground. Who knows what it will see?
This still picks up deer, ect, so it’s not limited to baby voles, and not all trail cameras do this, this one is special, and it is important to change the settings and use video mode
Of course. I do understand how security, trail, and other cameras work. I’ve used them in a professional capacity for over 30 years.
I never meant to imply that you don’t, I just wanted to clarify that putting the camera low down would not prevent observations of large animals, since my other comment could have been interpreted to imply otherswise, and I do not know your experience level
I apologize for being more prickly than warranted.
You could use your camera’s intervalometer. Set the timer to take a picture every ten seconds. Or maybe try https://www.miops.com/products/smart
This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.