Exploring Birdfy with Our Global Consultant's Insights
As a lifelong naturalist and birder, I’ve always enjoyed watching the birds in my garden – something I began when I was a young child. Seeing even common species as they come to my bird feeders gives me great pleasure, and over the years I’ve learned a lot from watching them. And I’m not alone. Millions of people in Britain – and indeed all around the world – love watching birds in their gardens.
But what happens when you are away from home, and can no longer see what your garden birds are up to? That’s where the Netvue Birdfy comes in. This ingenious device incorporates a high-resolution camera inside a bird feeder, which can show live action of your garden birds, as well as storing still pictures and videos of them as they visit the feeder. Using the Netvue app, you can then check out what is happening on your Birdfy at any time of the day or night, wherever you happen to be in the world.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve enjoyed seeing what is happening on my own Birdfy, in my garden in Somerset. Great tits and blue tits – the former large and dominant, the latter smaller but feistier – are the commonest visitors, but I’ve also enjoyed great views of goldfinches, greenfinches, a passing chiffchaff and regular visits from Britain’s favourite bird, the robin. What’s so special is that I don’t need to be looking out of my window all the time to check whether they are there – instead, I can watch them at my leisure using the video recording tool on the app.
I’ve also really enjoyed visiting the Birdfy Facebook pages – one in the United States and the other in the UK – on which fellow Birdfy users have posted fabulous footage of the birds visiting their own backyards and gardens. On the UK-based page I can see which species visit other people’s gardens up and down the country – some of which are the same as mine, others very different. And if I want to feel envious, I log on to the US version, where backyard birders post images and videos of colourful cardinals, exotic blue jays and a host of other American species I’ll never see on this side of the Atlantic! It makes me want to travel over to the USA and see those birds for myself – but of course I don’t have to, because thanks to this groundbreaking technology, I can watch them here!
Twenty years ago this year, I produced the BBC television series Wild in Your Garden, showing live and recorded footage from garden bird feeders and nestboxes on our TV screens. Two years later, we turned it into Springwatch, and I was lucky enough to be the first series producer. Springwatch soon became what broadcasters call “an appointment to view”, and eventually broadened out to include Autumnwatch and Winterwatch, winning the prestigious Royal Television Society award as well as a honorary BAFTA. Almost two decades later, millions of people still tune in every year to enjoy watching close-up views of Britain’s wildlife.
When Springwatch began, we were surprised to discover that, of all the exotic wildlife available in Britain, the firm favourites turned out to be some of our commonest and most widespread species – the birds that visit our gardens to find food and places to nest.
Now, I like to think that my Birdfy camera, placed just outside my office in my garden, provides my very own version of Springwatch! The technology that we first used all those years ago has now become so widely available that we can all enjoy close-up views, at the press of a button, not just of any birds, but of our birds!
As an author, I started my career writing books on garden birds: Attracting Birds to your Garden, The Bird-friendly Garden, Collins Gem Garden Birds, and many others. As I wrote about bird feeders, nestboxes and bird baths I could never have imagined that one day I would have my very own garden bird feeder complete with a built-in camera, enabling me to watch my favourite birds at any time, any place and anywhere. Now, thanks to Birdfy, I can!
And I am very pleased and excited to announce that this is just the start. Early next year, Netvue will launch Birdfy Nest, a nestbox with a built-in camera so that we will be able to see what is happening inside the nest itself, as the birds raise their families. We’re also redesigning Birdfy, to add all the many improvements suggested by our users; and will also be releasing a bird bath camera, so we can enjoy the antics of our garden birds as they drink and bathe.
So, if you’re not yet part of the Birdfy community, do please join us, for a journey of discovery with our favourite, fascinating and often surprising birds. And if you are already a member, keep posting those wonderful images and videos on our Facebook groups!
Naturalist and Author
Global Consultant, Netvue Technologies Co, Ltd.