Birdbox

2 minute read

Birdbox_Preview

Introduction

This project became a sort of tradition for me, every year I improve a little bit about it. When I first set it up in 2019, a bird actually stopped by and had some babies. Since then I added live-stream capabilities to Twitch and made it a bit cleaner, however no bird showed up yet.

Material

I used a Raspberry Pi 3B+ for streaming, and a Buck-Converter to provide power. Since I had to bridge around 7 meters with cable, a 5V supply woulds would have simply been unsuitable. Therefore I re-purposed a 9V power supply and it has been running without any problems.

For a stronger WiFi connection, I added an external USB antenna. In practice, I could not notice a true difference though. For the camera, I got myself one without IR filter, so it was suitable for night vision. The IR LEDs that initially came with it seemed too powerful, so I simply added some 5mm IR LEDs around the lens.

In case you are using a Pi Zero, remember to buy a suitable adapter cable!

Build

In 2019, I followed a guide in the German “Make-Magazin”. They explained how to set up motionEye OS, which worked really reliable for me. I could even set up a Dropbox upload when motion is detected, so I don’t miss anything. You can find the article here.

Setup

The Raspberry Pi Zero W was enough for this application. I don’t recommend it for the next steps though, get yourself a newer model!

In the following year, I first tried to live-stream the footage with FFmpeg. However, it was really hard to setup and worked unreliable. Then I read this guide and got it to work reliable.

Inside

Lessons learned

I don’t know why the birds don’t want to visit my bird box anymore. The only thing I could imagine is the coil noise from the Buck Converter.

Nevertheless, over the years I made various improvements to this project and it was quite fun to see.

Result

Here is an external link to the Twitch live stream: Twitch

Here is an external link to a compilation of the best moments in 2019: YouTube

I am proud to say that fellow maker EDCdadstuff made his own birdbox too, kindly check it out here: Instagram