Bird enthusiasts from all over came together and crowdfunded a new bird feeder with a camera inside called Bird Buddy. It had an extremely successful crowdfunding run and raised over $10mm. I missed hearing about this bird feeder camera when it first launched for funding back in November 2020. That’s probably a good thing, considering Kickstarter products take forever to launch (if they ever do). I pre-ordered the Bird Buddy in June and it arrived last week. I was thrilled to open it up and check it out.
A bird feeder with a camera or vice versa?
Upon unboxing the Bird Buddy, it was apparent a lot of care and attention has been paid to the design of the feeder itself. Manufactured from recycled plastic, the feeder is sturdy and well-built. Mine has a speckled blue housing and red perch. The front and rear of the feeder are frosted and translucent so you can view the seed level to refill as needed. It comes with a cup to help refill seed through a door on the back of the feeder. In the front of the housing, there is a dedicated space where the camera is slid into. It’s further secured with a magnet built into the housing.
The Bird Buddy came with a couple of options in the box to mount it: a universal mount, and a cord to hang it. I decided to put a nail in the fence and hang it from the cord. The wall mount accessory is likely something I’ll pick up for it soon as it’s much more secure for me than my nail. Update 12/19/22: I moved the Bird Buddy to hang on a proper feeding pole and it seems to get much more attention than against the fence.
The camera module
The camera module feels like it’s made out of soft-touch white plastic. The camera lens takes up most of the lower half of the device, There is a single button on the Bird Buddy which is used to pair the device during setup, and an LED status light that serves various purposes. On the bottom, you’ll find a USB type-C port for charging.
|Field of view||120°|
|Motion Detection||Dual-action motion and accelerometer|
A lens for sharp photos
The white, plastic camera module inside the Bird Buddy feeder is high-quality and allows for clear, sharp photos of the birds that visit. With the app, you can zoom in and out to get a closer look at the birds’ feathers, colors, and markings. Bird Buddy’s image processing is continuously being trained to more accurately identify the birds that it sees. When a photo is captured, the feeder suggests which species it believes is in the photo. If it guesses incorrectly, you can edit and relabel the picture.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
Setting up the camera module before inserting it into the feeder was straightforward. After turning it on and following the onboarding instructions in the app, I was up and running within 30 minutes. The camera initially required a Bluetooth connection to my phone to pair and transfer the Wi-Fi network settings. Then the module was updated after it was paired to my Bird Buddy account.
The Bird Buddy app
The magic of this connected bird feeder isn’t the feeder itself but the adorable companion app that it talks to. After the bird feeder and camera are set up, it will automatically identify the birds that visit your backyard, all while providing them with the food they need to thrive.
Time to place the feeder and wait
I took a break from feeding birds for the prior few months, so the Bird Buddy was set up and filled along with my other feeders. It was placed on the fence facing south toward my home and then I waited…
It took about three days before the birds started returning to my yard. I got a Bird Buddy notification and discovered that my first visitor was a female House Sparrow. She was hungry enough to visit, eat, leave, and then return for more a few minutes later.
The cute reveal
You’ll get notifications on your phone as new birds visit. Opening the app after you get a new visitor shows a cute reveal screen to see the bird photos the feeder captured. Check it out:
Log and learn more about your bird friends
Each species that visits your feeder will get its own postcard. Opening the postcard will display useful facts and tidbits about your feathered visitor. You’ll learn things about social behavior, diet, preferred vegetation, history, and where they can be found.
The app itself is user-friendly and easy to navigate. The bird postcards on the Collections tab help you track and view the different types of bird species that visit your feeder over time. It’s easy to download your favorite photos, customize which photo shows for each species, and share pictures on social media. It will be nice to see how the app and its features evolve over time through user feedback.
Here are some photos of my first visit on a cloudy day.
12/27/22: The Bird Buddy was updated to start taking video postcards automatically.
12/19/22 update: Here are some photos of my second species visitor which arrived today after moving the feeder.
Here are some photos from the community for you to get a better idea of the camera’s capabilities in better lighting conditions.
- The design of the feeder, camera and accessories are very well thought out
- The app is fun to use with lots of cute animations and polishing touches
- Great photo quality and sharpness
- Easy to set up
The even better if…
- Battery life needs optimizations
- Even with the solar roof attachment, many on Kickstarter are reporting only a few days of battery life on a full charge. Hopefully, this improves over time. I’ve only had a few visitors so I’ll provide an update on battery life soon.
- The app continues to get refined to offer options to ignore/filter specific species
Things to consider
- The camera needs Wi-Fi, so you’ll need to ensure adequate signal strength when you choose a location for placement
- The solar roof doesn’t seem to be making a huge difference at this point in my experience
The Bird Buddy is a must-consider for any curious birder. It’s thoughtfully well-designed and oozes details that demonstrate it was built by and for bird lovers.