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With everything going “smart” these days, a bird feeder may not have been something you’d expect to integrate technology into it. After all, it’s a pretty simple device, designed to attract our feathered little neighbors, providing a peaceful feed for us to observe them and maybe if we’re lucky, catch the occasional rare species. Luckily all that is still preserved in the best smart feeders, and even taken up to a whole new level. Here’s what to know about buying one of your own.
Buying Guide: How to Pick the Best Smart Bird Feeders
Here’s everything we considered when choosing the best smart bird feeders.
Cameras: One of the main features of the best bird feeders: the ability to see the birds up close like never before (and you don’t even need to be anywhere near the feeder). Whenever a bird visits for a snack, you’ll get an alert on your device, much like with a doorbell camera. A camera with a high resolution up to 1080p will give you a good and un-pixelated view. And with a zoom, you’ll be able to see details like never before. Same goes for night vision, allowing you to see birds in the dark. Some even record sound.
Range: Think about where you’ll place your smart bird feeder. One that’s out of range just becomes a regular feeder, so be sure it’s close enough to transmit a signal to your home setup or mobile devices. Typically, these seem to have a similar range as Bluetooth, which is about 40 to 90 feet.
Weatherproof: Since these are going to be living outside, they need to be able to stand up to the harshest weather in your area. The IP scale, or Ingress Protection, rates devices on how sealed off they are against water and moisture, but also snow, ice, dust, sand, even bugs. It’s best to go for the most durable, usually rated IP65 or above.
Installation: For amateur birders or professionals, there are all different requirements for installing a smart feeder. Some simply suction to a window, with others requiring getting your toolkit out.
Memory: To store your videos and snapshots, having a feeder with a built-in SD card slot can make things easy. So if you’re planning on showing off your photos to friends or a social media group, make sure it’s easy to share and has enough space.
What Are the Best Smart Bird Feeders?
Here are our top picks for the best smart bird feeders to buy right now.
1. Netvue Birdfy Smart Bird Feeder
This feeder cam takes it a step further than the rest by being able to identify visiting birds — over 6,000 different types — with the added ability to learn more about them in the app. Video is captured in 1080p resolution with a macro lens and a built-in zoom. Cloud storage is available (along with an SD card slot). You can also deter annoying squirrels via the voice feature, and this is IP65 weatherproof to stay up outside, only needing a recharge about every six months.
2. Miwasion Smart Bird Feeder Camera
This acrylic feeder with a camera charges up via USB power, and the lens captures birds up close in 1080p, giving them a chance to perch. You can install it a couple ways, including with a chain to suspend it from a tree branch, or by using a suction cup to stick it right on your window. You don’t even need WiFi to view birds through the app, and photos can be saved to an SD card.
3. PalProt Bird Detective Smart Bird Feeder
This feeder packs a 6500mAh battery that can last a couple months between charges, capturing birds in 1080p video. You can automatically snap photos of visiting birds even if you miss the notifications, save them to an SD card, as well as share them with friends. The feeder materials are military-grade, and can hold up to extreme temperatures and moisture all year.