My Take on the Make: Birdfeeder Webcam.





Introduction: My Take on the Make: Birdfeeder Webcam.

I was intrigued by the Make: blog "birdfeeder cam". here I thought the cam should be more weather-proof and came up with this idea. I wanted plenty of action so included not only a suet feeder but a tube feeder for seed and a stand for dried corn cob as well.

Step 1: Collect Materials

I had an old piece of fencing scrap to mount everything on. I had an old suet feeder, an old tube feeder and a squirrel feeder I made previously from the same wood. I saved a salad dressing jar and bought a cheap web cam and a pole set.

Step 2: Configure the Jar and Cam

Tighten the lid to the jar. Examine all sides to determine the clearest view for the cam to see through. The jar seems to have seams and has residue from the adhesive on the label that would create a blurry pic on the cam. Put an arrow on the lid and a line on the side of the lid where the cleanest section of glass is. This will be the direction to mount the jar.
This cam was screw mounted on it's stand. Apparently camera mounts are 1/4-20 standard thread (shouldn't Japanese cams be metric?). Tighten a 1/4-20 carriage bolt into the cam and determine the position of the front of the camera in relation to the bolt. Mark it so the bolt can be installed in the direction you want the camera to face so once tightened it will not shift position inside the jar.

Step 3: Drill the Holes

Drill 1/4" holes to mount the board to a window sill and mount the cam-jar to the board. Drill two holes in the jar lid. One !/4" for the bolt and one 3/4" for the cable. Put the bolt through the board, positioned to the front, and place the lid on to mark the board fot a 3/4" hole. Drill a small hole through the cork about the same diameter as the cable. Make a slit in the cork and slde the cable in place.

Step 4: Seal the Jar

Spread silicone sealant on top of the lid. Place on the bolt and tighten the nut. Thread the cam in place. Spread silicone sealant on the cork with the cable and place it in the hole. (I thought about sealing the threads of the jar but I still want access to the cam. As a precaution I put two little silica packs inside to help prevent condensation inside.)

Step 5: Check for Feeder Station Placement

Use the cam to check for optomal views. (I used my 4 ft. drywall tee square to measure. Large numbers show up in the pic.)

Step 6: Place the Feeders

Drill holes in the board for placement of the suet feeder (to prevent the wood from possibly splitting). Use wire staples to mount lid of feeder to board. After placing suet in feeder use cable ties to secure. Mount the corn cob feeder to the board with screws. Cut the tubing of one section of the pole set to have the feeder at best level for the cam.

Step 7: Mount It Outside on a Window Sill - Start Looking at Critters

Mount the board to a window sill and run the cable through the window. (I attached mine to my laptop but wanted to keep it in a convenient place. I needed a USB extension cable. 6 feet cost as much as the camera. Anybody have an Instructable on how to make USB cables?) If necessary use a board to brace the far end. (I didn't realize the length needed to see all the stations with the cam. I thought the thing would be a lot shorter. I used a scrap piece of wood mounted on the end of the board and the side of the house.) Configure the cam to take timed pics or with motion detection. ( I downloaded this and got the motion detection to work before I put it all together. Right now I just capture images on a schedule until I can tweak the program again.) Keep the feeders full and enjoy the show. (Three days and all I got so far are squirrel pics.)



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    15 Discussions

    Nice idea and has given me something to think about. How do you keep the camera cool in the sun when it's inside a glass jar. This will act like a greenhouse. Do you have a cover for the jar to act as a shade ?

    2 replies

    I have never had it up in the summer. It was on the north side of the house out of direct sunlight. I thought of setting the camera up in a fish pond for a couple of days but have never gotten to it. I would have to make it more water tight than this set up. Thanks for the comment.

    i know! get a wireless webcam, and make it solar/wind powered...that would be sweet

    inspired by this, My son and I built a birdhouse with a translucent skylight and a webcam. My son thinks it is super cool to watch the birds inside the nest and we hope to see some little baby birds getting fed one day.

    july 074.jpg
    1 reply

    That looks really sweet! Are you doing an instructable on it? Post some captures from the cam.

    I've added a couple more pics including cardinals.

    Nice... As far as the USB cable, just cut open a short usb cable and solder on longer wires. The wires should be colored differently, so it shouldn't be hard. You could probably even use an old phone (modem) cable to extend it.

    5 replies

    I thought there was a couple of pairs of wire and grounding shield. I've never cut one open.

    I made a 20 foot USB cable for my data projector. Just take a short USB extension cable and cut it in half. Then take a length of CAT5 cable (you've got a spool of the stuff around, right?) and solder. Just remember your color pairs and you should be all good. I'm not sure what the max distance is for that...

    I see large potential for a mix between this and

    you could set it up on the net and offer timeslots for like $1 per minute to controll the gun. of the potential. if yo uuse the airsoft gun listed it wouldn't realy harm the animals but i'd give em a nice wakeup.

    c'mon.. who dosn't wanna shoot a squirel.

    1 reply

    Interesting idea. I wonder how long it would take the squirrels to figure it out and not come back. Many bird feeding enthusiasts spend more time and money to keep squirrels out of bird seed than the spend on feeding birds.