Bird feeder cameras have become trendy in recent years. Who wouldn’t want to see our feathered friends up close and personal? With that, several brands have introduced cameras for us backyard birdwatchers to easily enjoy our visitors.
I’ve been a backyard birder for more than 20 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.
Netvue sent me one of their Birdfy bird feeder cameras to test and review. Given my fascination with these devices, I was happy to do so. Please know that any product I review, including the Netvue Birdfy, is independent, fair, and impartial. I have not been compensated to review the device.
If you decide you like the Birdfy and wish to purchase one using one of the links included in this article, I will receive a small commission.
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 see the 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 attract more cardinals so wanted to see for myself whether they preferred the safflower seed, sunflower seed, peanuts, or black-oil-sunflower.
- 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!
Netvue Birdfy is Not Your Average Camera
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. It also has AI (artificial intelligence) intended to identify the species of birds visiting the feeder.
Most of the cameras are just a camera – no feeder and no AI.
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 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 to 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.
The Birdfy meets all the key requirements:
|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 birds clearly.|
|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. Capturing via a memory card is also an option.|
|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.|
|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.|
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.
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.
Netvue Birdfy Bird Feeder Review
The Netvue Birdfy bird feeder camera is ideally suited for someone that wants the camera and feeder in one unit.
I was challenged with the setup but after reaching out to customer service, discovered it was incredibly simple. The problem was with the instructions that came with the system. Hopefully, Netvue will update and improve them.
The image quality of the Birdfy is good, it has amazing battery life, and meets all the other key requirements I’ve outlined above for a bird feeder camera. I loved the close-ups it was able to capture the birds. Check out the sweet bluebird below:
In most cases, the AI feature failed to correctly identify the species of bird on the feeder. I don’t feel it’s a required feature so didn’t include it under “what I didn’t like” about the camera. If you’re interested in this feature you may want to pass on the Birdfy.
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.
Below are additional video footage from the Birdfy I set up in my yard:
Optional Solar Panel
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.
The Netvue Birdfy satisfies many of my requirements for a bird feeder camera. Carefully review the requirements, both key and optional, to determine if Birdfy satisfies your needs. If so, I’d appreciate if you purchase from one of the links below as it entitles me to a small commission.
If it doesn’t quite meet your needs, check out the other bird feeder cameras I reviewed: The Best Bird Feeder Camera to Snoop on the Birds.
So, what do you think? Is the Birdfy something you’d use? Why or why not? Leave your comment below!