If you love birds, chances are good you’ve discovered all the bird nest cams available online by now. From the high-quality professional cams maintained by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to smaller home set-ups, nest cams have become very popular. They’re a great way to keep an eye on bird nests without disturbing the birds or attracting predators. It’s fun to watch nest cams from around the world online, but wouldn’t you love to have one right in your own yard? They’re not as hard to set up as you might think, especially if you don’t worry about broadcasting your nest cam on the web. You can do a simple closed-circuit TV set-up for your own use, and you don’t need a lot of technical skills or money to get started. Here’s how one Florida family did it.
When Celina and her family set up their bluebird box using guidelines from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s NestWatch, they were thrilled with how quickly a bluebird pair moved in to nest. They installed their nest cam on the “ceiling” of the box, looking right down into the nest. The tiny “spy camera” didn’t affect the birds at all. It was powered via a DC power supply plugged into a nearby outlet, so there was no need to visit the box to change batteries later on. Rather than worrying about more expensive and difficult to install wireless cams, Celina simply ran a long CCTV cable from the camera directly to her TV’s input. The whole setup cost less than $50!
Celina noted that she, her husband, and her little girl couldn’t get enough of watching the activity on their nest cam. “It was just so entertaining. I work from home one day a week and I’d have them on the TV the whole time. It was pretty great to see the male with a fledgling and how well it flew even though it had just left the nest that day or the day earlier,” she says. “We most enjoyed watching them grow and how they would all open their mouths so wide whenever there was any loudish sound outside. It was funny. In the beginning they were all mouth so it was comical.”
Their experience was so successful they plan to repeat it. “We’re already planning to get more cams for our other nest boxes,” Celina notes. They’ve built chickadee, screech owl, and titmouse nest boxes using plans from NestWatch, and hope to get a higher resolution camera in the future too. Feeling inspired? Get tips on how to set up a nest cam in your own yard in a way that’s safe for birds by visiting NestWatch. You can find the equipment Celina’s family used on Amazon: