Watching the birds through your window is great, but capturing their visits and sharing them with the world is even better. Bird feeder cams can help you gain a deeper understanding of the nature of your local birds, allow you to capture special moments, and, with BirdBot, let you help ornithology and wildlife researchers around the globe! Here’s how to get started streaming your own live bird feeder cam.
Related: Take BirdBot’s Wildlife Survey
For a complete beginner who wants to start live streaming their own bird feeder cam, there are three necessary things to have: a bird cam, streaming software, and a solid internet connection.
We weren’t kidding when we said there are a ton of options for a bird feeder camera; so, how do you pick the right one for your live stream? Here are some tips to consider when picking a bird feeder cam:
How important is the image quality to you? Depending on the camera you choose, you can get crystal clear images of the birds, or maybe you simply want to know what kind of animals are roaming your garden.
Do you want close-up shots or ones from a further distance? Camera detection ranges from a few feet to hundreds of feet, depending on which camera you choose.
BirdBot is a unique bird camera designed for live streaming. It’s a machine learning bird cam that helps environmental professionals contribute their findings to science using BirdBot’s AI technology. Because wildlife research relies heavily on collecting data, “citizen scientists” play a crucial role in monitoring wildlife behaviors—if there isn’t anyone around to monitor different locations, live streaming bird cameras can help solve the issue.
Birdbot uses AI to record bird behaviors that many of us don’t normally see. BirdBot captures things like the presence and absence of certain bird species, bird counts, predator detection, and other metrics.
BirdBot is a smart camera that allows you to view your favorite birds and live stream them while creating wildlife camera networks that can be actively monitored and used for ornithology and wildlife research.
Do you want to set up a bird feeder cam live stream to enjoy your local wildlife while helping out ornithology and wildlife researchers? Get your early bird BirdBot access here!
Related: How Birds Provide Ecosystem Services
Live streaming software is what lets you transmit the video from your bird cam to your streaming platform. Once your camera is up and running, everything needs to get packaged into a practical format for streaming. There are two different types of streaming software (or encoders) to choose from:
Software encoders are the more affordable option (some are even free!), and they offer plenty of utility for almost every bird feeder cam streamer.
First, we need to have a basic understanding of download vs. upload speeds. Your internet download speed shows you how much data your computer is able to take in using your connection (usually expressed in megabits per second or Mbps). When streaming videos, it’s your upload speed that’s the most important—this determines how much data your connection can share, e.g., your bird cam video stream.
Most likely, you’ll use YouTube to stream and upload footage from your bird feeder cam, and the platform recommends having an upload speed between 1.5 to 4 megabits per second. But, since speeds fluctuate constantly, you’ll want a 35-40% buffer for your upload speed. So, for the best speeds on YouTube, you’ll want an upload rate of around 5.6 Mbps. A stable internet connection is just as important as your upload speed—it doesn’t matter if you have the fastest internet around if your connection constantly stutters or drops.
There are various platforms that you can choose to live stream your bird feeder cam on, but for the sake of this article, we’ll concentrate on using YouTube—it’s free and simple to get started. First, you’ll need to enable live streaming on your accounts by verifying your Youtube account, enabling live streaming in the “channel features” page, and waiting 24 hours for YouTube to activate your live streaming privileges.
Next, you’ll need to set up your bird feeder cam for the stream—we’re going to assume you’re using a software encoder like we mentioned above. Here’s how you do it:
If you want others to enjoy the video from your live bird cam stream, you can work on promoting your YouTube stream on social media to attract bird lovers from all over—we know we’d flock to a new bird stream! Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are a great way to attract bird watchers from around the globe to enjoy your local wildlife. With a few extra steps, you can even live stream your bird feeder cam to Facebook or embed the video right on Twitter, but unless you’re trying to profit from your stream, simply sharing the link to your YouTube is enough to share your wildlife wonders with the world.
Now that your live bird feeder cam stream is up and running, you’re probably wondering how to attract more and more of your feathered friends. Here are some ways to attract more birds to your live stream camera.
Do you want to help out ornithology and wildlife researchers while enjoying the live stream from your bird feeder cam? Learn more about the BirdBot camera!