At BirdGazer.net we seached a long time for the best type of camera for viewing birds. The USB webcam which comes with your 3 door birdhouse provides for the best bird watching at the most reasonable cost. The camera is Plug and Play, this allows you to set-up quickly and start watching on your computer without the need of camera software. To view video you can use the Microsoft Movie Maker option which comes with Microsoft Windows Essentials 2012, if you have that already installed on your computer. If your computer does not already have Microsoft Movie Maker, you can also use the Camera tile option included in Windows 8 or 10. This provides for a easy way to view and record. All recorded files using the Camera option will be saved as a MP4 file without any user conversion required. After the file is saved, ‘right click’ on the file and rename it by date to keep your files easily organized. If you are computer savvy and or also do not have a Microsoft system, use the proper application for webcams that come with your computer.
If you have a laptop computer, and with a integrated webcam, you will have to disable the intergated webcam as the primary webcam that is seen. Most laptop computers default to the integrated webcam and will not allow the birdcam to operate. In Windows changes are made by clicking through the Control Panel, to Hardware and Sound, to Device Manager, to Imaging Devices. At this point the laptop webcam is identified and can be disabled. Consult YouTube for many step-by-step video’s to better walk you through your version of Microsoft. *Laptops must be newer units and must be plugged into power for use with the BirdGazer.net camera houses due to the problem of low power output from the USB port and due to battery drainage.
The USB webcam is cabled, not wireless. Constant power is provided by the computer, but not all computers are equal when it comes to the power output of the USB port. Some laptop computers and older Tower units do not provide enough power out of the USB port to enable a signal to travel the 50ft of cable to the camera effectively. Make sure you use the dominate USB port on your computer. Computers with multiple USB ports sometimes provide a high and low voltage port option. Select and test all USB ports. The 50ft booster cable included should provide a clear, real-time smooth signal to your computer.
Wireless units were not chosen because they require a power source at the camera. This means running a power cable to the camera or using a battery source which would require frequent re-charging. Most wireless units also require additional software downloading which is usally not user friendly and is unsupported. Wireless units also increase costs considerably. BirdGazer.net camera birdhouses provide power and signal at the same time at a much lower cost.
Your camera comes pre-loaded into the BirdGazer.net camera birdhouse and is tested to insure it is ready to operate. The 50ft cable will allow for good placement options all around your home. Check out some of the tips for placement at BirdGazer.net’s Placement Tips section.
The USB color webcam operates best during normal daylight hours. Make sure the camera birdhouse is placed in area with plenty of daylight. Position the camera birdhouse with a southern exposure for best results. Do not place the front of the camera birdhouse into direct angled sunlight, this will over-expose the camera with too much to light and blind the signal. The USB infrared/color webcam operates in all lighting conditions. If placed facing south, and during most sunny days, the color ability will turn on. As sunlight diminishes the infrared ability of the camera will then become active. If you decide to place your camera birdhouse in a shady out of the way place around your home, the infrared/color camera will provide good viewing in a all infrared mode. You can test placement and lighting by hooking the camera birdhouse up to your computer and moving it around the outside of your home during the day while not yet in a fixed placement, to test various locations before the final installation. This should help you evaluate the best location for lighting and picture quality.