does bird buddy have sound

Bird Buddy is one of the more frivolous gadgets Ive had the opportunity to test: its a premium-priced smart bird feeder that records and catalogs the critters that stop to feed, pushing adorable videos of birds throwing seed around right to your phone. After living with the feeder for a few months, I have to admit that the novelty of daily bird notifications has lost some of its luster. But Bird Buddy is still a lot of fun to use, and I think anybody with even a passing interest in birdwatching will love it.

Bird Buddy review: Camera quality

I thought that the majority of the pictures that the Bird Buddy took were excellent; the American Goldfinch’s yellow plumage and the reds of a cardinal’s feathers both had a striking appearance. Similarly, the videos that Bird Buddy captured were also very good. My only wishes are that it recorded audio as well and that the Bird Buddy’s roof wasn’t visible.

Additionally, I observed that not every bird that visits the feeder is captured by the Bird Buddy. One morning, I happened to glance outside and noticed a male and a female cardinal eating seeds simultaneously, but the Bird Buddy never captured the moment.

If you would like to watch a bird feed in real time, you can also activate a live view from the camera, however this feature isn’t very reliable. The live view took so long to load that I thought the application had crashed. Additionally, you won’t have a permanent record of your visitor if you use the live view feature because the camera won’t record video or take pictures. The BirdKiss was much quicker to activate because it functions more like a conventional security camera and records sound.

Video and photo quality

A five-megapixel vertically oriented sensor with a 120-degree field of view powers Bird Buddy’s camera, giving it a clear picture of what’s going on in the feed tray and in front of the feeder. Originally, Bird Buddy claimed that the 720p resolution cap that is applied by default was done so to save battery life. However, as of right now, 1080p video is offered as a benefit of subscribing to Bird Buddy Pro. That all feels a little slimy to me.

However, videos are still sufficiently clear to see the action even at 720p. The camera is fixed on the feeder tray, so you can usually see fine details in the animals’ plumage (or fur) in the footage of them feeding. Since birds usually feed during the day, the lack of night vision and HDR isn’t too big of a disadvantage. Despite the camera’s built-in microphone, audio was not recorded during the launch. However, audio recording has now been made possible by a free software update; fortunately, it is not a premium feature like full-res video is.

Although the stills that Bird Buddy provides are referred to as “photos,” they are actually just single frames from recorded video. That’s usually okay, but a lot of the time these screen grabs are so hazy as to be completely unusable. But part of the experience is sorting through the footage that Bird Buddy takes, and with every video, I nearly always get a decent frame or two.

Design, hardware, and what’s in the box

does bird buddy have sound

When the camera module is removed, Bird Buddy appears to be a fairly typical bird feeder. It has a little house-like shape, standing nine inches tall, and a seed tray that is gravity-fed is covered by a roof. The feeder is primarily composed of blue or yellow colored plastic, with clear plastic pieces on the front and back that indicate the amount of seed still in there. It has a hatch on the back where you can add your preferred feed (it holds about four cups), and it has tiny holes underneath the tray where rainwater can escape. Its soft angles and vivid color schemes give it a more contemporary appearance than the majority of bird feeders on the market, bordering on the trendy.

The solitary button on the white, pill-shaped camera module protrudes slightly, making it simple to remove for USB-C cable charging. The camera module is held in place by a single magnet. A very adorable feature is the little platform with elevated bird footprints at the front of the feed tray.

does bird buddy have sound

With its base-model feeder, Bird Buddy offers two mounting options: a plastic mount that allows the feeder to be hung from a pole and a braided nylon cord that can be used to hold it in place. I chose the cord because it ingeniously loops beneath the feeder’s roof to help distribute its weight equally. However, after a few weeks, the cord had become frayed and discolored, and one part was wearing so thinly that it appeared ready to break. I ultimately changed it out for the chain that is shown in these pictures. The hardware store only charged four dollars for a replacement chain, but given the feeder’s high cost, the box ought to include a more robust hanging option.

does bird buddy have sound

does bird buddy have sound

Squirrels have chewed off bits of my feeder.

Beyond the hanging cable that comes with it, I have some doubts about Bird Buddy’s overall long-term viability. Although my feeder has never fallen to the ground, it has already sustained some noticeable damage, including multiple areas where it appears that squirrels have chewed through the plastic housing. At least up close, this kind of damage is barely noticeable, and it’s probably even less noticeable on the blue model.

What irritates me more is that, in the months that I’ve been using the feeder, pieces of the door that you open to add seed have broken off. Within a few weeks of one another, the two triangular components at the corners of the door that support it broke off. The door remains closed, so it doesn’t seem to matter, but this device is too costly to malfunction after a year of careful use.

does bird buddy have sound

does bird buddy have sound

In the second picture, the parts that resembled pizza slices on either side of the door have since broken off.

A handy seed scoop and a USB-A-to-C cable for charging the camera module are included. Although there isn’t any seed included with the feeder to get you started, you should still choose a variety that will draw in the local birds.

does bird buddy have sound

Bird Buddy’s camera module begins recording as soon as it senses movement in the feed tray. Following recording, a video is uploaded via Wi-Fi to the cloud, and you receive a notification through the Bird Buddy companion app asking you to watch the video and a few stills. The stills and video can be downloaded to your phone and saved to your Bird Buddy account. You can also choose to share the stills and video to make them appear in an in-app, semi-social video stream.

Bird Buddy requires access to Wi-Fi because it lacks local video storage and is limited in what it can accomplish without an internet connection. Since my backyard is small, I haven’t had any problems with Wi-Fi coverage. However, if your property is larger, you’ll need to be careful about where you place your Bird Buddy.

The Bird Buddy app has multiple tabs: Bird Buddy TV, which is a never-ending supply of bird videos uploaded by other Bird Buddy users worldwide; an Inbox that displays a chronological feed of activity at your feeder; and a Collection that lists the various kinds of birds that your camera has spotted. In another section, you can assist Bird Buddy in identifying any species that it was unable to distinguish on its own. I’m not much help there because I’m a very amateur birdwatcher, but more experienced users should find it to be an enjoyable diversion.

The one- to two-minute videos that Bird Buddy captures frequently only feature birds for a brief portion of that time. Regretfully, the in-app player doesn’t in any way highlight the parts of the video where there is activity. Thus, it will take a lot of time to manually go through and find the highlights (or even more time to wait and watch an empty bird feeder). Video highlights seem insignificant in comparison to Bird Buddys’ machine-learning capabilities, which enable it to visually identify a large number of bird species. In my opinion, this represents a significant missed opportunity. I shouldn’t have to manually edit clips to cut out extended periods of inactivity before sharing for the $200 this thing costs.

Each species that your feeder has seen thus far is displayed on the Collection tab. By tapping on one, you can view all of the images and videos you’ve taken of that specific species as well as additional details like average weight and size, locations across the globe where you can find that specific bird, and interesting trivia (like the fact that house sparrows are lifelong partners). It has many similarities to the Pokédex from the Pokémon television series, including the ability to play recordings of the sounds each species makes and detailed written descriptions for each one.

does bird buddy have sound

However, Bird Buddy frequently overlooks birds that are transient, which can be a little annoying when it comes to collecting. Many birds that Bird Buddy didn’t record have landed on my feeder; I’ve seen them plenty of times.

Following the release of the Bird Buddy feeders, the business unveiled Bird Buddy Pro, a premium subscription service. For $2. 99 a month or $29. The Pro subscription, which costs $99 annually, adds several useful features. In my first few weeks with the feeder, I was inundated with notifications about sparrows and squirrels, so I specifically wished for the ability to filter out species-related notifications. Moreover, Pro activates “frenzy mode,” which increases the camera’s sensitivity to motion and increases the number of bird clips it can capture at the cost of a little less battery life.

I’m just as sick of everything being a subscription as everyone else is, but I don’t find it offensive to pay $3 per month or less for Bird Buddy Pro. Bird Buddy is managing a large amount of video, and that requires expensive server capacity. However, I find it insulting that the only way to view 1080p video is to purchase the Pro subscription. I know that higher-resolution video requires more processing and storage power, but I never understand why hardware-level features should be locked behind a subscription paywall.


What are the cons of the Bird Buddy?

However, it has been reported to have issues with Wi-Fi connectivity, and the app is not user-friendly. Some customers also found the setup instructions insufficient and the bird perch design unattractive. Furthermore, there are complaints about poor customer service and the product being overpriced.

What triggers Bird Buddy?

Here’s how it works: Detection: A bird needs to be near the center of the perch to activate our laser motion detector. This ensures the bird is in a prime position for photos. Recording & AI Assessment: After the detector is activated, the Bird Buddy captures photos and videos.

Is Bird Buddy worth it?

The Bird Buddy is one of the best bird feeder cameras available thanks to its excellent app usability, advanced AI, and high-quality images and videos. The sleek design is easy to install, clean, and fill, and the removable camera is a nice addition.

How do I know if my Bird Buddy is on?

LED turns solid green for 3 seconds ? device has been turned on. LED lights turn solid green ? device is fully charged. LED blinking blue ? device is ready to pair with BT.