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Experiment... Setting Up a Bird Web Cam


Guess it had to happen... Whilst we have been taking (and will continue to take) some fantastic photos using the NovaBird and Olympus cameras, we still wanted to set up a real-time streaming bird video. Though this is certainly not a great novelty on the Web, it still sounds like a lot of fun! So let's outline the project and see if we can find some direction and perhaps uncover a few hints for others along the way... (Note: There are a ton of abbreviations and technoblab in here... If you're interested in this sort of thing, but new to the field, don't worry... Just get the "Big Picture" and then ask around... Remember, I answer all comments... You'll be fine...)

At this point in the project the crude drawing below is our roadmap. (We engineers use crude maps like this at the beginning of every project because we know that the scheme is going to change on a daily if not hourly basis.) Onward... The drawing depicts a USB bird-cam signal being tossed into a wireless local network, shoveled onto the Web, into eBirdseed.com, and finally resting right before your beady little eyes... Hmmm...


Reading the drawing from right to left (natch!), let's see what we've got...

  1. Birds are attracted to the window feeder. (Gotta love the drawing of the bird!)
  2. The USB 2.0 Web cam will capture real time as the birds eat, (or not...) We'll have to watch the camera angle for best viewing.
  3. The video signal will feed back into a PC with a wireless USB 802.11g, 54Mbps adapter.
  4. The PC/802.11g will in turn broadcast the signal to the 802.11g router...
  5. Next, the router uses cat 5 cables to dish off the signal to both the main PC and the cable modem.
  6. Once the video hits the cable modem, it rockets off into the fog of the Web/Internet and lands in eBirdseed.com.
But there's a serious consideration... How do we actually store the "broadcast" of the video itself? Well, it turns out that there's a service out there called Camstreams that offers just that sort of functionality. That will probably have to be installed on the computer in "Step 3" above. Once I get the cam working on my machines, I'll see if the boss wants to incorporate it into the eBirdseed.com site. If that proves impractical, I can probably link to the cam directly off this blog.

Anyway, this is all new to me, and no doubt there will be some mind bending in the process, but I'm betting that we'll get there just fine. I'll keep you posted.

See you by those ever-more-increasingly-visible feeders,


eBirdseed.com photo library


P.S. Now about that MP3-based bird song library I've been meaning to build...

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Oh boy! Chickadees! Gold finches! Nuthatches! Can't wait.

This sounds interesting. Will it show up on the e-birdseed website as real-time images?

{CCA says: We're almost done now, and are just deciding how/where it will be displayed. It is real-time streaming video, and quite cool. Look for it within a week or so.}

I'm thinking May 11th is Mother's Day. Can we get the hummingbirds to fly in formation and spell out a message to all our precious moms? :-)

{CCA replies...

Hi Kathy,

Man oh man, have you got timing! I'm just putting the finishing touches on our eBirdseed.com real-time Hummingbird Cam! We'll have those little suckers flying in formation in no time!

Seriously, the Hummer Web Cam should be up ASAP... Check out the next post Tues, 4/29/08...


Glad i found this web site.Added "eBirdseed.com Wild Bird Feeding Blog: Experiment... Setting Up a Bird Web Cam" to my bookmark!

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