Which Smart Bird Feeder is the Best? I Tested 4 in My Yard & Have the Definitive Answer!

Author: Tammy Poppie
Updated:
Reviewed by:
best smart bird feeder article downy woodpecker on feeder

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Which Smart Bird Feeder is the Best? I Tested 4 in My Yard & Have the Definitive Answer!

Author: Tammy Poppie
Updated:
Reviewed by:
best smart bird feeder article downy woodpecker on feeder

This post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.

The best smart bird feeder is the Netvue Birdfy. How do I know? I tested four different smart bird feeders in my yard to find out which one was the best. Since smart bird feeders cost more than a traditional feeder I wanted to know how the different brands compared so you wouldn’t waste your money on unworthy devices.

In this article, I share my experience using four brands of smart feeders including Netvue, Bird Buddy, isYoung, and AUXCO. I also provide actual videos from each smart bird feeder and samples of each brand’s attempts at identifying bird species.

Additionally, I present all of the key factors to consider when purchasing a smart bird feeder with cameras. The three brands are then compared side-by-side so you can easily see how each one measures up.

Why should you listen to me?

Aside from the fact that I actually used the smart bird feeders before making any recommendations… I’ve been backyard birdwatching for more than 25 years. In the last 5 years, I started observing the birds more closely using various cameras scattered around my yard – including various types of bird feeder cameras.

Okay, let’s get right to it. Do you want to know the best smart bird feeder camera?

The Netvue Birdfy AI is the best OVERALL smart bird feeder I’ve tested in my yard thus far.

While there are several other smart bird feeder brands available, the Netvue Birdfy has all the key factors you should look for in a smart bird feeder, is easier to set up than 2 of the other brands, and the videos and images are great quality.

Bird Buddy is my next pick – especially for non-tech-savvy people.

isYoung comes in as the best budget-friendly model.

Best Smart Feeder

netvue birdfy bird feeder camera

Netvue Birdfy Feeder

The Netvue Birdfy AI Smart Feeder is perfect if you want maximum close shots of the birds and a chance to identify the species in either live view or while watching a recorded video.

View on Netvue
View on Amazon

Shortly I’ll dive into further details about the Netvue as well as the other 2 brands. But first, let’s explore the key factors to consider when buying a smart bird feeder.

Key Factors To Consider When Shopping for the Best Smart Feeder

After cutting through the endless list of features and marketing hype, I arrived at a shortlist of key factors that are important when buying a smart bird feeder. Since they’re all equally important, here they are listed in alphabetical order:

  1. Battery Life
  2. Bird Identification Accuracy
  3. Ease of Setup
  4. Easy to Use (App & Feeder)
  5. Image Quality
  6. Motion Detection
  7. Weather-Resistant
  8. Wireless Connectivity

Battery Life

Smart bird feeder cameras are battery-powered. The app will provide the remaining battery life for you. When the battery depletes you need to either purchase new batteries or recharge the existing (if it has rechargeable batteries). 

Although each brand provides their estimate of the battery life you can expect, in my experience they are never accurate. This is why I recommend relying on the testimonial of a real person who used the smart feeder rather than the brand.

Obviously, a long-lasting battery is ideal so you’re not spending a fortune on batteries or wasting time bringing the device inside for recharging.

  • Look for a smart feeder with rechargeable batteries and at least a 6-month battery life. Only rely on the battery life information from a real person who actually used the device.

Accurate Bird Identification

The AI capability should be able to identify a fair amount of bird species accurately. After all, identifying the species is the primary purpose of a “smart” bird feeder. 

The brand highlights the AI features of its product in its listing, showcasing the potential benefits. They might include images of birds on the feeder, labeled with their species names.

Based on my personal experience, I’ve found that product listings may not always be completely accurate. To ensure accuracy, I suggest considering the testimonials of individuals who have personally used the smart feeder to identify bird species.

  • Look for a smart bird feeder that has been tested and proven to correctly recognize different bird species. Check out videos and pictures of birds identified by the feeder to see how accurate it is.

Ease of Setup

A device that’s easy to set up enables you to start enjoying the birds quickly rather than wasting hours studying the installation manual, and causes buyer’s remorse to set in fast!

The setup process involves assembling the physical feeder/camera and configuring the accompanying smartphone app.

When it comes to smart bird feeders, the instructions often lack clarity. This can lead to frustration and delays in setting up the device, or even result in users returning the product to the seller.

  • Look for a smart bird feeder that is proven to be easy to set up according to real, actual users of the device. 

Ease of Use

A smart bird feeder and app that are easy to use will result in regular enjoyment of it and a great return on your investment. Nobody wants to be fiddling around with an app that is not intuitive or lacks clear instructions.

  • Look for a smart bird feeder that users confirm proven to be easy to set up according to real, actual users of the device. 

Image Quality

The smart feeder camera should have relatively good image quality so you’re able to clearly see the birds and what they’re doing. Since all smart bird feeders on the market use Wi-Fi, you are limited in the crispness of the images, hence why I say “relatively” good image quality.

While professional photographers would not be impressed with the quality of any smart bird feeder (their standards are just too high), the image quality of the best smart bird feeders is more than impressive for backyard birders like you and me. 

  • For good image quality, look for HD video with 1080p.

Motion Detection

Every smart bird feeder I’ve used has a motion detection feature. And, it’s a crucial feature so if you find one that doesn’t have it, keep looking.

The device relies on motion detection to trigger the camera to begin capturing video. Without it, the camera would remain on all the time and drain the battery within days. 

Many devices also have advanced detection features such as sensitivity, activity area, and alarm intervals.  These are nice to have features but sometimes just unnecessarily overcomplicate the app. 

  • Look for a smart bird feeder that has motion detection that can be easily turned on or off.

Weather-Resistant

Just like most bird feeders, smart bird feeders should be weather-resistant so the rain, snow, and wind don’t destroy the quality or freshness of the bird food. It should also offer additional protection around the camera to protect it from the elements so it doesn’t break.

Most smart bird feeders on the market today have an enclosure for the bird food as well as the camera so you shouldn’t have trouble finding one that has this key factor.

  • For a weather-resistant smart bird feeder, look for an IP rating of 65° or better.

Wireless

Most smart bird feeders use Wi-Fi connectivity. Wireless (Wi-Fi) connectivity offers maximum convenience so you don’t have to run ugly outdoor approved extension cords to the bird feeder.

Wi-FI Frequency

Most of us have no concept of Wi-Fi frequency bands (myself included), but it’s worth noting that most of the smart bird feeders on the market still use 2.4GHz frequency – even though there is a 5GHz Wi-Fi frequency. 

I’ve been told by one of the major smart bird feeder brands that they don’t support 5GHz because it doesn’t do a good job of going through walls and objects. Since smart bird feeders are located outdoors and away from the home, they have at least one exterior wall to go through (in many cases, many interior walls as well), so it’s not ideal for a smart bird feeder application.

  • Look for a smart bird feeder with Wi-Fi connectivity.

Netvue Birdfy AI

The Best Overall Smart Bird Feeder Camera

Netvue Birdfy smart bird feeder mounted on a pole
Netvue Birdfy smart bird feeder mounted on a pole in my yard.

The Netvue Birdfy AI receives the dubious honor of being the best overall smart bird feeder because it fulfills all of the key factors. Here’s a summary:

Weather-resistant: Yes, the Netvue AI has an IP rating of 65 and it did a great job standing up to the rain, snow, and wind in my yard.

Good image quality: Yes. Photos and images are close-up, clear, and very detailed. See the video example below.

Wireless (wi-fi) connectivity: Yes, the Netvue connects via Wi-Fi.

Easy to set up: Yes – The instruction manual provided easy-to-follow instructions for every step of setup including assembling the feeder, charging the battery, installing the app (including adding the camera to the app), mounting the feeder, and filling the device with birdseed.

The app is very simple to use. While Netvue’s instruction manual is significantly better than the other smart bird feeder brands I tested, it still could use improvement for better clarity. That said, Netvue has numerous support channels to quickly address issues or questions you have including online chat, in-app help, email, a Facebook community, Youtube videos, and more.

Easy & convenient to view the images: The app is relatively easy to use. It contains ample help such as FAQ, a Forum, and agent support via the app’s chat.

Motion detection: Yes. Netvue also allows you to configure the motion detection sensitivity so you can lower it on windy days or raise it when using the hummingbird extension.

Long battery life: Yes! I was blown away by the battery life. The battery did not need a charge until after 6 months of constant use – and I have a lot of birds in my yard which means the camera was constantly in use.

Accurately identifies the bird species: The Netvue Birdfy AI does a decent job of identifying bird species – about 50% accurate. The bird ID feature can be used when playing back a video or when in live view mode.

Video Captured from the Netvue Birdfy Smart Bird Feeder

YouTube video

Bird ID by the isYoung Smart Bird Feeder

Here the Netvue Birdfy correctly identified this Baltimore oriole.

Netvue Birdfy smart feeder bird identification

Here the Netvue Birdfy AI incorrectly identified this black-capped chickadee as a mountain chickadee.

Netvue Birdfy incorrect id

The Verdict

Based on my testing and use of the Netvue Birdfy AI, it is the best overall smart bird feeder. It meets all the key factors for a smart bird feeder, and the video and photos are up-close, clear, and impressive!

The bird identification feature does a decent job of identifying the species – especially when it has multiple angles to work with or one really good head-on shot. Frankly, the AI feature of the Netvue is about the same as the other 2 brands tested. They’re correct about 50% of the time.

Bird ID is supported when viewing recorded videos as well as in live mode. This is an advantage over the other 2 brands which only support the feature in live mode (a definite drawback which I expand on later).

The Netvue Birdfy AI comes with the AI feature built-in. A subscription is not required for this feature. If you want to store images for a longer period of time, a subscription can be purchased for cloud storage (it’s about $5/month).

Check out my full review of the Netvue Birdfy AI Smart Bird Feeder for additional detail including more videos and bird ID examples.

Best Smart Feeder

netvue birdfy bird feeder camera

Netvue Birdfy Feeder

The Netvue Birdfy AI Smart Feeder is perfect if you want maximum close shots of the birds and a chance to identify the species in either live view or while watching a recorded video.

View on Netvue
View on Amazon

Bird Buddy

The Best Smart Bird Feeder for Non-Techies

northern cardinal female captured on the Bird Buddy smart bird feeder
Female northern cardinal captured on the Bird Buddy smart bird feeder.

Review coming soon…


isYoung Smart AI Recognition Bird Feeder Camera

The Best Budget-Friendly Smart Bird Feeder

photo of isYoung smart bird feeder with cardinal
Screenshot of isYoung smart bird feeder in my yard.

The BF002 isYoung Smart Bird Feeder camera fulfills some of the key factors outlined in the Buying Guide. Here’s a summary:

  • Weather-resistant: Yes, it is IP65 waterproof and able to function well in various weather conditions.
  • Good image quality: Yes, it captures videos and images of good quality.
  • Wireless connectivity: Yes, it can be connected to Wi-Fi.
  • Easy to set up: Not ideal. The product manual lacks instructions on assembling the feeder/camera and using the app. However, connecting the camera to Wi-Fi was relatively easy.
  • Easy & convenient to use: It could be better. The app installation process was straightforward, but the manual lacks clear instructions on navigating and utilizing its features. It took some trial and error to figure out how to access and review videos.
  • Motion detection: Yes, it effectively detects birds through motion and records them.
  • Long battery life: Not great. The battery lasted approximately three weeks, requiring recharging through a USB connection after bringing the device indoors and cleaning it.
  • Accurate bird species identification: The isYoung smart bird feeder accurately identifies bird species about 50% of the time. The AI feature is only available in live view mode. This limitation presents 3 significant drawbacks:
    1. The identification feature is not available when playing back recorded videos.
    2. Identifying a bird requires timely action as the opportunity is lost once the bird flies away.
    3. Most users rely on recorded videos rather than live observations.

Video Captured from the isYoung Smart Bird Feeder

YouTube video

Bird ID by the isYoung Smart Bird Feeder

Here the isYoung correctly identified this house finch.

isYoung AI live view mode

Here the isYoung incorrectly identified this house finch as a common rosefinch.

isYoung smart feeder incorrectly IDs a house finch

While the isYoung smart feeder with the camera didn’t meet all the requirements, it’s still worthy of consideration. I recommend the isYoung Smart Bird Feeder if this describes you:

  • Assembling products without directions does not intimidate you.
  • Instead of learning how to use a new app you just dive right in and figure it out, enjoying the challenge all the way.
  • You’re happy purchasing generic products most of the time.
  • You’ll be using the bird identification (AI feature) while watching the activity live.
isyoung smart bird feeder camera
View on Amazon

Check out my full review of the isYoung Smart Bird Feeder for additional detail including more videos and bird ID examples.


AUXCO Smart AI Recognition Bird Feeder

auxco smart bird feeder mounted to my arbor
AUXCO smart bird feeder mounted to my arbor.

The third feeder I tested is the AUXCO Smart AI Recognition feeder which partially fulfills the key factors outlined earlier.

  • Weather-resistant: Yes, it is waterproof with clear plastic housing for the camera and seed storage.
  • Good image quality: Yes, it captures videos and images of good quality.
  • Wireless connectivity: Yes, it uses Wi-Fi for communication.
  • Easy to set up: Not particularly. The product manual lacks instructions on assembling the feeder/camera and using the app. Some difficulties were encountered during the setup process.
  • Easy & convenient image viewing: Not particularly. The app installation was straightforward, but the manual did not provide clear instructions on using the app. It required some exploration to find the video review feature.
  • Motion detection: Yes, the Auxco videos are triggered by motion detection.
  • Battery life: The battery is depleted by half within two weeks. However, the device can be easily recharged using a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
  • Accurate bird species identification: Just like the other smart feeders, the AUXCO brand accurately identifies bird species about 50% of the time. Similar to the isYoung model, AUXCO’s AI feature is only available in live view mode. Again, this limitation presents 3 significant drawbacks you should be aware of before making a buying decision:
    1. The identification feature is not available when playing back recorded videos.
    2. Identifying a bird requires timely action as the opportunity is lost once the bird flies away.
    3. Most users rely on recorded videos rather than live observations.

Video Captured from the AUXCO Smart Bird Feeder

YouTube video

Bird ID by the AUXCO Smart Bird Feeder

Here the AUXCO correctly identified this American Robin.

American robin accurately identified via Auxco smart bird feeder

Here the AUXCO incorrectly identified this northern cardinal as a hepatic tanager.

auxco smart bird feeder incorrect id

Check out my full review of the AUXCO Smart Bird Feeder for additional detail including more videos and bird ID examples.

auxco smart bird feeder mounted to my arbor

AUXCO Smart Bird Feeder

View on Amazon

Smart Bird Feeder Comparison Overview

The table below summarizes the key factors to consider when purchasing a smart bird feeder and how the devices I tested compare.

Netvue Birdfy AIisYoungAUXCOBird Buddy
Battery LifeGreatPoorPoorPoor
Bird Identification Accuracy50%50%50%* 90%
Easy to SetupYesNoNoYes
Easy to UseYesNoNoYes
Good Image QualityYesYesYesYes
Motion DetectionYesYesYesYes
Weather ResistantYesYesYesYes
Wireless ConnectivityYesYesYesYes
* Bird Buddy has the best bird species identification accuracy rate but it may be due to an unfair advantage. Bird Buddy does not capture all activity on the feeder while the other brands do. Instead, it only captures the ones where it has determined the bird’s position and length of stay at the feeder, which will produce a great image. Great image = greater likelihood of an accurate ID.

Key Takeaways

  • I tested four smart bird feeders in my yard including the Netvue Birdfy, Bird Buddy, isYoung, and AUXCO AI Recognition feeders.
  • The Netvue Birdfy is the overall best smart feeder because it’s able to identify the birds in live or video playback mode, has better setup and feature instructions, and longer lasting battery.
  • The Bird Buddy is a great option for people who are less familiar with the technology.
  • The isYoung AI Recognition feeder is the best budget-friendly smart feeder. Although it falls short of meeting all requirements, those who don’t mind vague instructions and thrive on figuring out new apps on their own just may enjoy the challenge while saving some money.
  • The bird identification accuracy is about the same for three of the smart bird feeder brands (Netvue, isYoung, AUXCO) with about a 50% accuracy rate. Bird Buddy’s is about 90%, but it doesn’t capture all activity.
More than 25 years ago, Tammy put her first bird feeder outside her kitchen window. Since then she learned how to attract wild birds to her backyard. Studying the meaning & symbolism of wild birds is also a passion of hers. Read more about Tammy