Are you tired of Netvue Birdfy reviews that just say “this is great, buy it now“? Me too. That’s why I set up the bird feeder camera combo in my yard and tested it out. I wanted to find out if it measured up to all the hoopla I heard about it or if it was just another birding gimmick.
Based on my hands-on experience with the Netvue Bird Feeder camera:
I recommend the Netvue Birdfy if you want a single unit to feed and capture video of the birds. Specifically, I recommend the Netvue Birdfy Lite. Netvue sells the standard and lite. The lite version is the same as the standard version except without the AI (artificial intelligence) feature which you’ll soon learn doesn’t work very well.
I do not recommend the Netvue Birdfy (standard or lite) if you already have an outdoor camera system, or plan to get one because you can simply buy a bird feeder and aim your outdoor camera at it.
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. Today, I have cameras scattered throughout my yard to enjoy them at the feeder, birdhouse, or wherever they happen to be.
As soon as the Netvue Bird Feeder camera hit the market I knew I had to try it for my birdwatching audience. But before we get to the review, I’d like to explain what a bird feeder camera is, its benefits, and what to look for when buying one (a Buying Guide).
Short on time? Skip right to the Netvue Birdfy review.
Table of Contents
- What Is A Bird Feeder Camera?
- Benefits of a Bird Feeder Camera
- Buying Guide: What To Look For When Buying A Bird Feeder Camera
- Netvue Birdfy Bird Feeder Review
What Is A Bird Feeder Camera?
A bird feeder camera captures images and/or videos of the activity at your bird feeder. It also stores the images for later viewing.
Benefits of a Bird Feeder Camera
Bird feeder cameras have been trending in recent years – and for good reason! They enable you to kick your birdwatching up a notch by seeing bird feeder activity up close.
Below are key benefits I’ve experienced from having a bird feeder camera:
- I’m able to see which bird food a particular species prefers. I was on a mission to host more cardinals in my yard so wanted to see for myself whether they preferred the safflower seed, sunflower seed, peanuts, or black oil sunflower seed.
- I’m able to observe their behaviors.
- I’m able to find out the exact time the birds visit the feeder so I’m ready the next day to snapshots of them with my superzoom camera!
- I’m able to see if the feeder needs filling or if snow needs to be brushed off.
- I can see who’s pigging out on all the food!
- I’m able to just experience the beauty of nature – up close!
Buying Guide: What To Look For When Buying A Bird Feeder Camera
There are a lot of features and options available in a bird feeder camera. After cutting through the endless list of features and specifications, I arrived at a shortlist of key requirements that are important for a backyard birder.
Key Requirements for Choosing a Bird Feeder Camera
- Weather-resistant so the rain, snow, and wind don’t destroy it. Look for 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 or depend on 5 hours of sunlight each day to keep the solar power camera charged. (Sure wouldn’t work in Wisconsin!)
- 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.
- Backed by a trustworthy & reputable company so you can enjoy observing birds on your feeder for years rather than tossing it in the recycle bin with all the other “As Seen on TV” gadgets.
Optional Requirements for Choosing a Bird Feeder Camera
Depending on your personal preferences or circumstances, I identified a few optional requirements you may want to consider as well.
- Price because we don’t all have a money tree in the backyard.
- 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.
- AI capability to identify the species at the feeder.
Netvue Birdfy Bird Feeder Review
Unlike many of the bird feeder cameras I’ve tested and reviewed, the Netvue Birdfy is unique because the feeder and camera are in one unit. For this reason, it’s ideally suited for someone that wants a combination feeder/camera setup.
Most of the cameras are just a camera – no feeder and no AI.
Birdfy vs Birdfy Lite
Netvue sells the standard Birdfy and Birdfy Lite. They are the same except the lite model does not support the AI feature. Since the AI feature didn’t work very well, I’d recommend the Lite model instead of the standard one.
AI (Artificial Intelligence)
The standard Birdfy has an AI (artificial intelligence) feature that’s intended to identify the species of birds visiting the feeder. Also known as a “smart bird feeder”. However, I wasn’t impressed with this feature. More on that in a bit.
I was challenged with the setup but after reaching out to customer service, discovered it was incredibly simple.
What was the challenge? The instructions advise you to scan the QR code on the birdfy camera. I found it cumbersome to maneuver the camera to scan the code since it’s enclosed in a plastic casing. As it turns out, you don’t need to scan it from the birdfy camera. Rather, the code is generated from your app and you scan it from there.
Does The Netvue Birdfy Meet the Key Requirements?
Yes, the Netvue Bird Feeder camera meets all the key requirements I previously outlined in the Buying Guide. Here’s a summary:
|Make & Model||Netvue Birdfy|
|Weather-resistant||Yes – Integrated with an IP65 weatherproof design, Birdfy Feeder Cam works properly under rain, sun, snow, and wind.|
|Good image quality||Yes – Birdfy captures all moments in 1080P FHD. With 8X digital zoom, you will see all the details of the birds clearly. I believe the image quality is good for an all-season outdoor camera.|
|Wireless connectivity||Yes. Uses your wi-fi to communicate.|
|Easy to set up||Yes – However, while the setup was easy, the documented instructions could use improvement.|
|Easy & convenient to view the images and videos||Yes – You can view the images from your smartphone using the Netvue app. No need to pop an SD card in and out. However, you can still use an SD card if you wish (it’s optional).|
|Motion detection||Yes – it has a motion detection feature. It does not record continuously to protect the battery life.|
|Long battery life||The advanced battery design allows Birdfy to work constantly for up to 6 months with 200s recording per day. That’s an amazing battery life!|
|Backed by a trustworthy & reputable company||Since 2010, Netvue has provided smart home solutions including devices for indoor and outdoor use. The Birdfy bird feeder camera is their first product geared toward birdwatching.|
The Birdfy meets some of the optional requirements as follows:
- Price: The Birdfy is higher priced than most bird feeder cameras (> $200) but keep in mind the feeder is included.
- Audio: Audio is included.
- Night vision: The Birdfy features an LED spotlight that provides full-color night vision mode.
- Notifications The Birdfy captures birds and pushes instant notifications.
- Zoom capability: The Netvue app offers an 8X digital zoom
- Subscription requirement: Birdfy does not require you to have a subscription. It comes with a free cloud storage plan to store all the content on the Netvue cloud for up to 7 days. After the 7-day period, there are no images stored in the Netvue app. Users can also choose to use a memory card to store everything or manage the images externally. Using the Netvue app I was able to email the videos to myself and store them on my phone and computer.
- Warranty: Comes with a 1-year warranty.
- AI capability: The Birdfy’s unique feature of identifying the species at the feeder is an interesting one. While it sounds like a great idea, in the month that I used the Birdfy, it failed to correctly identify any bird at the feeder. When asking about this the support team advised the system needs time in order to view many birds and then would eventually be able to identify them correctly. The jury’s still out on this.
The Birdfy comes with a variety of mounting options but hanging from a hook is not one of them. The mounting options include: screwing to a tree or post. If you prefer to hang from a bird feeder pole (e.g. to prevent squirrels from accessing the food) you’ll need to make your own hanging system. I screwed the camera to a tree for testing the device.
Actual Video Captured
I loved the close-ups this feeder/camera combo was able to capture of the birds. Below is a sampling of videos I captured.
In most cases, the AI feature failed to correctly identify the species of bird on the feeder. Personally, I feel the funnest part of birding is identifying the species on my own. That said, if you’re interested in the Birdfy for this specific feature you may want to pass on. It’s just not very accurate.
The Birdfy also has an available solar panel for an additional cost. Since it enables you to save on battery costs, it may be worth checking out. I did not test out this feature.
I recommend the Netvue Birdfy Lite. It meets all the requirements for a combination bird feeder camera system and the video captured is up-close, clear, and impressive!
Great for folks who want to feed the birds and observe them up close but don’t want to mess around with a bird feeder and camera setup separately.
GET 10% off when you purchase directly from Netvue and use coupon code "ONTHEFEEDER".
What if I don’t have wifi?
The Netvue Birdfy requires wifi to function. If you don’t have wifi you can try using a wired outdoor security camera and point it to a separate bird feeder. Here are a couple of options on Amazon:
Netvue – wired outdoor camera
Blink – wired outdoor camera
Netvue Birdfy vs Bird Buddy
How does Bird Buddy measure up to the Netvue Birdfy Bird Feeder? I wish I knew. In the past several months, whenever I visit the Bird Buddy website it indicates the product is on pre-order.
As of today, 1/25/23, the Bird Buddy is still on pre-order. Apparently, you can pay for it now, but it won’t ship until
June April, 2023.
I set up and used the Netvue Birdfy bird feeder in my yard for over a month. While the initial setup was unnerving, I did manage to complete the initial steps. Once installed I was pleasantly surprised at the closeup view and quality of the camera – the battery life was off the charts.
- I recommend the Netvue Birdfy Lite if you’re a birdwatcher that wants to feed the birds and observe them up close but don’t want to mess around with a bird feeder and separate camera.
- I do not recommend the Netvue Birdfy if you already have a separate outdoor camera or plan to get one. Instead, they should just invest in a standard bird feeder and point the outdoor camera at the feeder.
- I do not recommend the Netvue Birdfy standard version, which includes the AI feature because it didn’t work very well when I tested it. Why pay extra for a feature that doesn’t work?
What do you think? Is the Birdfy something you’d use? Why or why not? Leave your comment below!
25 thoughts on “Netvue Birdfy Review: A Hands-On, In Depth Look”
Do you have a review of any bird cams that are freestanding instead of part of a feeder?
Yes, check out Best Bird Feeder Camera
Thanks! Helped me pull the trigger (by asking for it as a Christmas gift, hahaha) on it!
I’m glad I could help, Nick!
Thanks for this review! I want to make sure I understand the free cloud storage situation– is it a 7 day free trial, like only the 1st week you use the device? Or are all images and videos stored for 7 days after they are captured? So you have a week to download whatever you want for the life of the device? I am thinking it’s the latter, but I just wanted to make sure before purchasing this. My bird-loving kids will freak out about this!! But I don’t want to have to pay for a subscription. Thanks!
You’re correct – the images and videos are stored for 7 days from the date captured. You have 7 days to do something with them before Netvue purges them.
Can you explain how to set it up since the instructions were confusing?
Do you recommend purchasing it with out without the solar panel?
If you live in a sunny destination I would definitely try the solar panel. I live in Wisconsin – solar panels wouldn’t work here 😉
I wanted to get a camera or smart bird feeder for my mother in law. Is Wi-Fi required to run all of these? She does not have Wi-Fi, does use a smart phone on LTE. Just so confused on what to get.
According to Netvue, “…our camera needs to connect to wifi all the time.” You could try a wired security camera and somehow point it at a separate bird feeder. A wired one would require you to run a long wire out of the house. Here are a couple of options on Amazon:
Netvue wired outdoor camera
Blink wired outdoor camera
There is a step in the instructions that say scan the QR code on the birdfy camera. I found it cumbersome to maneuver the camera to scan the code since the camera is enclosed in a casing. Turns out you don’t need to scan it from the birdfy camera. Rather, the code is generated from your app and you scan it from there.
How do I retrieve things from the cloud?
Hi Nancy! Netvue has a solid Help area to their website specific to the Birdfy. Check it out: Netvue Birdfy Help
No. You do not need an SD card.
Do you have a favorite food that you use for your Netvue bird feeder
I like to mix black-oil sunflower seed, safflower seed, and peanuts.
I find that watching them, using the live-stream feature, rather than waiting for notifications, uses up a lot of the battery life. Fast. Your experience?
Absolutely! I’m not sure the camera was intended for constant live viewing. That’s the beauty of the camera! You can see the birds anytime.
I just set up my Netvue bird feeder. I was in on the original Kickstarter on the Bird Buddy. When I finally received it I found out that the ‘company’ was not able to deal with customer service issues or questions for MONTHS. I gave up and after months got it returned and my money back.
I’m just learning how to tweak my Netvue feeder settings and so far the device looks much better engineered than the BB and the software looks much more capable.
I’m glad you’re happy with your Netvue Birdfy purchase.
What do you do about squirrels
If you’re handy and/or have a feeder pole with a squirrel baffle and that allows you to mount a feeder on top, you could attach the feeder that way.
Great review and info…thanks! What happens with the battery after “6 months”? Is it replaceable/rechargeable?
You can recharge the battery after it’s depleted.