In the market for a smart bird feeder but not sure which brand to choose? If you’ve been researching smart feeders you’ve probably heard of Netvue as it’s the most popular brand. But did you know there are other brands of smart bird feeders such as the AUXCO?
I set up the AUXCO smart bird feeder camera in my yard and tested it for a couple of weeks. I wanted to find out how it compared with the other bird feeder cameras I tested.
Based on my hands-on experience with the AUXCO Smart AI Recognition Bird Feeder:
I recommend it if:
- Would like close-up views of the birds.
- You want a combination feeder/camera setup rather than a separate camera and feeder.
- You’re a handy, mechanically inclined person who can easily assemble pieces without instructions and navigate your way around apps that are not intuitive.
- You’re not interested in the AI feature because it only works in live mode (not during video playback). Also, because this feature only works in live mode I wasn’t able to verify its accuracy in identifying the bird species.
I do not recommend it if:
- You’re the type of person who relies on documentation to install and use new equipment. The manual was unclear, not in any particular order, and made no mention of how to assemble or use the app.
- You already have a security system in place (e.g. Blink or Wyze) in which case you can simply point a camera at a feeder and save money.
- You’re interested in the AI feature because it only works in live mode which defeats the purpose of capturing video of the birds.
I’ve been a backyard birder for more than 25 years. About 5 years ago I started using bird feeder cameras to refine my knowledge of their feeding behaviors. Just last year I started testing smart bird feeders, the type that identify the bird species on the feeder.
Short on time? Skip right to the AUXCO Smart AI Recognition Bird Feeder review.
Buying Guide: What To Look For When Buying A Smart Bird Feeder
When purchasing a smart bird feeder there are several key factors to consider. They’re listed below:
Key Factors for Choosing a Smart Bird Feeder with Camera
- Weather-resistant so the rain, snow, and wind don’t destroy it. Look for an IP rating of 65 or better.
- Good image quality so you’re able to clearly see the species of bird and what it’s doing. Look for HD video with 1080p.
- Wireless (Wi-Fi) connectivity so you don’t have to run ugly outdoor approved extension cords to the bird feeder.
- Easy to set up so you can start enjoying the birds quickly rather than studying the installation manual.
- Easy & convenient to view the images so you don’t have to bother your teenager every time you want to see what the birds have been up to, or so you don’t have to get out of your jammies to run outside for the memory card.
- Look for a camera with a smartphone app to view images from anywhere vs one that stores images on a memory device (SD card or jump drive). Memory devices require you to retrieve the memory device before viewing.
- Motion detection so you’re only capturing images when a bird is on the feeder which saves on power and time when you want to go back and view the recordings.
- Long battery life so you’re not spending a fortune on batteries and wasting time replacing the batteries.
- AI capability to identify the species at the feeder. The AI feature should work in any mode including video playback or live.
Optional Factors for Choosing a Bird Feeder Camera
Depending on your personal preferences or circumstances, I identified a few optional factors you may want to consider as well.
- Price because we don’t all have a money tree in the backyard.
- Solar powered so you can save money on batteries
- Audio because you want to hear what your feathered friends are tweeting.
- Night vision because you want to capture the birds early in the morning and late in the evening.
- Notifications because you want to see what was happening at your feeder moments ago.
- Zoom capability is a nice feature especially if the image is too small to make out the bird details.
- No subscription is required so you spend less.
- Warranty to safeguard your purchase.
AUXCO Smart Bird Feeder Review
Unlike some of the bird feeder cameras I’ve tested and reviewed, the AUXCO model is unique because the feeder and camera are in one unit.
- This single-contained bird feeder camera style is common with “smart” bird feeders – a term given to AI bird feeder cameras that also identify the species.
- The combination feeder/camera is ideally suited for someone who prefers the combo rather than a separate camera and feeder.
Does The aUXCO Smart Bird Feeder Have the Key Factors?
The smart bird feeder camera only meets some of the key factors I previously outlined in the Buying Guide above.
Weather-resistant: Yes, it’s waterproof. The camera is fully enclosed in the clear plastic housing along with the stored seed.
Good image quality: Yes, it captured video and images with good quality. Check out the videos below.
Wireless (wi-fi) connectivity: Yes, it uses your Wi-Fi to communicate.
Easy to set up: Not so much. The smart feeder camera came with a Product Manual which included FAQs, the parts that came in the box, and how to mount it. But, there was nothing about how to assemble the feeder/camera or how to use the app. While there weren’t many pieces to assemble, I really struggled to attach the roof/top. It wasn’t intuitive at all, but I eventually figured it out by accident. Many of you would have no problem, I guess I’m just mechanically challenged.
Easy & convenient to use: Not so much. The app was a snap to install but the manual did not provide instructions on how to use the app and I didn’t find it to be very intuitive. After much tapping around I discovered how to review the videos (not to mention I already have experience using and testing other smart feeders).
Below is a screenshot of the home screen showing the options available.
Following some initial challenges with the app, I reached out to AUXCO via email (their contact information can be found in the product manual) with a set of inquiries. I was pleasantly surprised to receive a prompt response from AUXCO (Hats off to AUXCO!). They kindly directed me to a helpful video on Amazon for comprehensive instructions on utilizing the app. If you plan on acquiring this device, I recommend you bookmark this article for future reference and watch the accompanying video.
Motion detection: Yes. The Auxco video recordings are triggered by motion detection.
Long battery life: Within a span of just two weeks, half of the battery was already depleted. On a positive note, the device is equipped with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, allowing for easy recharging. However, the recharging process involves bringing the device indoors, cleaning it, and then initiating the charging procedure.
Accurately identifies the bird species: The AUXCO smart bird feeder does a good job of identifying bird species. However, I was disappointed when I learned the bird identification feature is limited to the Live View mode. In other words, when the system records a video of the bird and you play it back, the bird identification feature is not available.
There are at least three significant drawbacks to restricting the bird ID feature solely to live mode:
- It requires being in live mode at the right moment when a bird happens to appear. Given that not everyone spends a significant amount of time observing birds through the app in live mode, the likelihood of encountering a bird during this time is low.
- Identifying a bird requires requesting the identification using the bird icon, but there is only a brief window of opportunity to do so. Once the bird flies away, which it inevitably will, the opportunity for identification is lost. Alternatively, capturing a photo of the bird in live-view mode is an option, but it demands impeccable timing.
- The majority of users will typically utilize the smart bird feeder to view recorded videos of the birds, rather than relying on live observations.
Below are two examples of the Auxco Smart Bird Feeder’s accurate IDs.
While viewing in live mode I got lucky when a male northern cardinal stopped by. I quickly tapped the bird icon to identify the bird.
The AUXCO app redirected me to the cardinal’s Wikipedia page.
Another accurate ID – this time of the American robin.
The AUXCO app redirected me to Robin’s Wikipedia page.
And, here is an example of incorrect bird identification by AUXCO.
Here a male northern cardinal is incorrectly ID as a house sparrow. In fairness, the shot was not the best for ID purposes.
The AUXCO app redirected me to house sparrow’s Wikipedia page.
The Auxco meets some of the optional factors as follows:
- Price: The Auxco is in line with other smart bird feeders with AI functionality ($150 – $250).
- Solar powered: The Auxco includes a solar panel. However, I did not test it.
- Audio: Audio is included.
- Night vision: No (presumably) Neither the app nor the documentation referenced anything about night vision.
- Notifications Yes, it sends notifications when a bird has been detected.
- Zoom capability: No (presumably) Neither the app nor the documentation referenced anything about Zoom.
- Subscription requirement: The feeder comes with a 64G TF card which enables you to store the videos without a subscription (e.g. storing on iCloud). A subscription is not required to use the basic functionality including viewing, sharing, and species identification (in Live mode).
- Warranty: One-year Warranty
Actual Video Captured
I love the close-ups and details the Auxco was able to capture. Below is a sampling of videos I captured.
Mounting the AUXCO Smart Bird Feeder
The Auxco provides a mounting bracket for mounting the device to a tree, post, or other location you can screw into.
For testing in my yard, I mounted it to the side of a wooden arbor. Not surprisingly, the squirrels were delighted that there were no barriers to accessing the bird food.
If my plan was to leave the feeder up for an extended period, I would have fastened the bracket to a wooden block. This block would then have a pole attachment, which would easily slide onto the pole of my squirrel-proof feeder.
Check out my in-depth review of the isYoung Smart Bird Feeder.
The AUXCO smart bird feeder fulfills certain criteria, although it falls short in some areas. The captured video provides clear and close-up footage, but the setup instructions proved to be of limited value. While the battery drains quickly, it is rechargeable, alleviating the need for frequent battery replacements.
The AI feature demonstrates fairly accurate bird species identification; however, it operates exclusively in live mode, which limits its usefulness unless one intends to continuously monitor the live feed in anticipation of bird sightings.
I recommend the AUXCO smart bird feeder if:
- You desire up-close views of birds.
- You prefer a combined feeder and camera setup instead of separate devices.
- You possess mechanical aptitude and can easily assemble components without relying on instructions. Additionally, you are comfortable navigating through less intuitive apps.
- The AI feature is not a priority for you due to its limitation to live mode.
I do not recommend it if:
- You heavily rely on documentation for installing and operating new equipment. The manual provided unclear instructions, lacked a specific order, and failed to address assembly or app usage.
- You already have a functional security system in place (such as Blink or Wyze) and can simply position a camera toward the feeder, thus saving money.
- The AI feature is of interest to you, as it solely operates in live mode, which undermines the purpose of capturing video footage of the birds. In such cases, I suggest checking out my review of the Netvue Birdfy Smart Bird Feeder.
I also reviewed the Netvue and isYoung brands of smart bird feeders. You can check them out here:
I tried setting up and using the AUXCO Smart Bird Feeder in my yard. Unfortunately, the instructions weren’t very clear, which made it frustrating to set up and use the app.
Once I got it working, the video quality was good, but it was a bit difficult to figure out how to use the app. The battery didn’t last very long, but at least you can recharge it instead of buying new batteries.
The bird feeder could identify bird species accurately most of the time, but only if you were watching it live. That might not be practical for most people who like watching birds in their backyard.
If you’re patient and don’t mind figuring out how to put the smart feeder together and use the app, it could be a good choice for you.
What do you think? Would you use the Auxco Smart Bird Feeder? Why or why not? Leave your comment below!