We have been having a lot of fun with the Audubon BirdCams. The one we set up on a TrekPod on the second floor has been capturing some very candid pics of visitors to the feeder (sparrow, blue jay, cardinal). The other unit is slated for the outside but its setup has been on hold awaiting the arrival of some accessories.
The BirdCam pointed at the window feeder on the second floor is powered directly from the AC outlet via an AC/DC adapter. The adapter is able to output a variety of voltages from Radio Shack. We find these variable-voltage adaptesr to be a better value than device-specific ones because of their versatility. However, they are not for outdoor use. As we want to put the second BirdCam out in the RainyDayGarden we need a way to power the unit which is not wasteful (aka batteries) or be affected by the weather (aka rain). Two options: a solar panel or rechargeable batteries, such as:
- Solar Power Panel – weather-resistant, built in 12V rechargeable battery
- Eneloop batteries w/ D-size adapters – recharges up to 1500x
With a solar panel, we wouldn’t have to worry about the BirdCam running out of power, but we’d need to find a good location for the panel. With rechargeable batteries, we’d still need to check the unit periodically, but at least we’d be able to reuse the batteries for years. Also, by using D-size adapter sleeves, we can use the more commonly available AA-size rechargeables. We have used Eneloops for years (travel pack, in-use, FirstLook) but never for outdoor applications. It will be interesting to see how they fare.
The accessory we were waiting on was the Pole Mounting Arm. We could have used the straps which came with the BirdCam, but we wanted a more flexible option. This accessory makes it easy to attach the BirdCam to a variety of poles and to move it to any location in the RainyDayGarden. It has an adjustable locking elbow and a threaded bolt on the ball joint at the end that enables easy positioning of the camera. The best part of the arm is that everything is tightened using wingnuts, so no tools are needed for setup or adjustments.
To entice a wide variety of birds to pose for the BirdCam, we went with Cole’s Wild Bird Feed. We had excellent results with the suet and other feed from Cole’s this past Winter and we are confident the birds will happy to find Cole’s feed in the feeders again this Fall. Since Cole’s has a wide variety of products, the REAL challenge was what to get 🙂
- Safflower – cardinals, nuthatches, and chickadees can’t resist it
- Finch Friends – contains sunflower meats, niger seed, canary seed
- Special Feeder – contains black oil sunflower, sunflower meats, black stripe sunflower, raw peanuts, safflower, pecans
- Blue Ribbon Blend – contains black oil sunflower, sunflower meats, white proso millet, cracked corn, canary seed
By the time we finish the 40 pounds of seed, there should be some fat birds fluttering around the RainyDayGarden 🙂 In the next article, we will show readers how to set up the pole mounting arm and attach a BirdCam to it for use outside. Look for it by the end of the week!