About bird-cam.co.uk


In 2006 we moved from Brighton upto Stone, Staffordshire. The house that we bought had a bird box on the garage wall and much to our extreme pleasure the box was used for blue tit chicks in the spring of 2007.

Unfortunately with these things we never got to see the chicks, all we could here was the chirp chirp and then one day they where gone!

For 2008 we came up with the idea of installing “Birdcam”. This would be a small infrared camera mounted on the roof of the bird box which would then be connected up to a PC to archive footage and update a website with the content.

Having done a bit of background reading on tits it became apparent that we needed to have the camera installed by January at the latest if we weren’t to disturb the birds.

January 2008 – The box build

First thing was to order the equipment. I had seen people selling pre-made kits on the internet for this sort of thing so just took a look at what they offered and via ebay and Hong Kong I purchased 1 Infrared camera, 1 10m extension cable and 1 CCTV PCI capture card, grand total was about £25

Parts bought:

The camera itself, shown here with a 1p coin as reference

Camera

The Extension Cable

Cable

And the CCTV Capture card

Capture Card

Then we move onto “The Build”

First thing was to take apart the bird box, easily done with many screws on the front, back, sides, top and bottom!

With the tiles removed I fixed the camera mounting bracket to the roof.

Then it was time to rebuild the box allowing for the drilling of a channel to feed the cable out of the birdbox.

The cable was then hooked up to the extension cable and ran into the garage and connected to an old Athlon 800mhz PC I had spare.

The CCTV card that came from ebay was supplied with some dodgy ripped off version of PICO2000 so I looked to find a legit alternative.

The people who made PICO2000 had their own legit version but it was lacking in some of the functionality I needed such as the ability to e-mail when motion is detected

After a bit of research I came across Cam Wizard which looked good. I had to grab a WDM driver for the capture card and then my camera worked in Cam Wizard, hurrah!

Over the next few weeks I tweaked the setup but it became only too aparent that the Athlon couldn’t encode the video in a smooth manner so I looked to source a replacement!

A friendly uncle had a P4 2.8Ghz spare so I snaffled that and saw about another PC rebuild to get it up and running. The PC I was given was a Dell Dimensions and it came with an Audigy 2 sound card, this gave me nothing but hassle!! With the card installed all I got was a black screen so in the end I pulled the sound card.

This brings us up to this weekend where I got the PC all sorted, I’ve registered the Cam Wizard software ($40 + VAT) and I’ve created a web page that captures from the camera every 10 mins.


The action so far has been quite frequent but the tits are just at the stage where they are investigating potential sites! We seem to have had a few second viewings so hopefully there will be some moving in soon!



Current Image from the camera (Within the last 10mins, time in the bottom right hand corner is GMT)

Live webcam image

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