Barbears House 
BirdCam NestboxThe Bird box with a camera idea came up when two trains of thought collided in Dads head to generate one of those mad moments one summer day in 2006. One being a desire to put up a bird box for Luke and Sophie to see some birds nest in our back garden, the second being a Maplin sale leaflet dropping through the door with a dead cheap miniature black and white camera. Now this is not a brilliant invention (wish it was) as you could buy these bird boxes with cameras ready made for about £150 which was just an extravagance, as our set up came in at around £50 but is far simpler, so me and Luke set about making it. The result is shown in the picture on the right. Nothing fantastic, but it does the job and the Blue Tits love it.

Now, this is a good RSPB bird box design made from some wood left over's, and the critical factor is the hole size and placement. Ideally the hole needs to be North facing, which in our case it is, secondly the size needs to be right for the birds you want to get in. Blue Tits need it to be 25mm, which again ours is and this keeps out all the larger sparrows etc. So up it went back in 2006 ready for the April 2007 nesting season... but to our disappointment we had no feathered visitors.

April 2008 arrived, but we had forgotten all about the bird box until one day we spotted a bird coming out of the box. On went the camera and we could see something in the box although the picture really was not good enough for uploading due to insufficient light from the home made Infra Red LED array. We could see things but not well enough or in any detail. So we left them to nest and watched as they flew in and out which was nice for the kids to see when they were out in the garden. When we were very sure it had been long vacated during August it had an upgrade in the form of a new tinted sky light to let in additional light during the day.



You can get these nest boxes with colour cameras today (2009) for around £70 + p&p and can hook it up easily to a TV. If you want to do what we do and upload to the Internet you will need software and a video capture card so it will cost you a bit more. You will also need a bit of technical know-how as well.