I Made a Smart Bird Feeder for Under $100—and Can See Who Visited on Camera
Use your home security camera and this clever device to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.
Those of us who feed the birds share one common goal: getting a closer look! From binoculars and window-mounted bird feeders to hummingbird feeders that fit like jewelry, all kinds of devices exist to give bird-watchers a better view. One cool new way to observe birds up close is with a camera housed inside the bird feeder. The Wasserstein bird feeder smart camera case silently photographs feeding birds without disturbing them.
Wasserstein is a creative smart-home company offering accessories to support and expand the functionality of popular smart devices. It supports products from Nest, Ring, Arlo, Alexa, Google Home, and more. I tested the Wasserstein bird feeder smart camera case, equipped with a Ring Stick Up HD security camera, for 30 days. It was easy to set up, adaptable to different mounting options, and offered an excellent view of birds on the feeder as well as action in the landscape beyond. But I did have some issues with the device—or should I say, with uninvited guests! Read on for my detailed review.
Wasserstein Bird Feeder Camera Case: At a Glance
- Fast and easy snap-together assembly takes just a few minutes and requires no tools
- The camera case is compatible with several popular smart security cameras
- The open feeder design offers a wide viewing area for birds of different sizes
- Refilling the feeder is easy and can be done without taking the feeder down
- Durable polycarbonate construction is designed for years of all-weather use
- The design is not squirrel proof; a squirrel baffle is a must if you wish to exclude them
- Recharging the camera is difficult; must dismount the feeder
- Animals can knock the tray off the feeder
Get the Wasserstein Bird Feeder Camera Case at:
What is the Wasserstein Bird Feeder Camera Case?
The Wasserstein Bird Feeder camera case is a rugged polycarbonate bird feeder with a camera compartment built into the seed hopper. The L-shaped feeder features an upright seed hopper that stores the birdseed, a feeding tray into which the seed gradually flows as birds eat, and a roof to shield the feeding tray from rain and snow. A small removable chamber at the front rim of the tray doubles as a perch and, when filled with nectar, a small hummingbird feeder.
The feeder, measuring 9 inches tall by 7 inches wide by 8 inches deep, comes with three different mounting options. The included universal mounting strap may be used to attach the feeder to a tree trunk up to about 10 inches in diameter. Also included is a wall-mounting bracket that is compatible with walls or larger trees. Those who prefer to use a pole will find a threaded mount beneath the hopper for that purpose.
The camera compartment is sized to fit Blink Outdoor, Ring Stick Up, Wyze Cam V3, and Wyze Cam Outdoor security cameras. Although the bird feeder camera case does not include a camera, both Wasserstein and Amazon offer it bundled with the Ring Stick Up camera, which I used for testing. Camera access is at the rear of the camera case, where access is blocked after mounting to a tree or wall. For charging convenience, the Wasserstein solar panel (sold separately) may be connected to maintain the camera battery.
Is the Wasserstein Bird Feeder Camera Case easy to set up?
The bird feeder camera case was very easy to assemble. It arrived in five parts (not counting the camera and optional mounting parts): hopper, roof, tray, camera compartment cover, and hummingbird feeder/perch. The parts all snapped together in just a few minutes. After setting up my camera and installing it in the feeder compartment (details on that just ahead), I used the strap to mount the feeder to a tree, which only took about a minute.
The more complicated part involves your choice of camera. Every camera comes with its own startup procedures. As an example, my Ring Stick Up required me to charge the camera, download the app, set up a Ring account, connect the camera to my Wi-Fi, and install the camera on the app. Those steps took about 30 minutes. The process was mostly intuitive, but I ran into one small glitch when it came time to actually find my camera on my app. After exiting the app and signing back in, all was right.
Is the Wasserstein Bird Feeder Camera Case good for filming birds?
I liked the wide-open aspect of the tray-style feeder and the way the roof shielded direct sunlight for improved image quality. The feeder provided a perfect angle for viewing birds on the perch and within about 75 percent of the tray. Those feeding closest to the camera were either in a blind spot outside the field of view or were too close to identify.
Unlike some trail cams I’ve used, the Ring camera did not have an onboard SIM card to store data, so I was at the mercy of the Wi-Fi connection and cloud storage. While I could easily access real-time images and receive activity notifications, I didn’t always get high-quality images. When the Wi-Fi signal was strained, the pics were pixelated.
One part of the system that I hadn’t considered prior to testing was the camera’s depth of field. The pics had good clarity and very little distortion on subjects ranging from about 2 inches away all the way out to about 45 feet away. This allowed me not only to see birds feeding, but also view from which direction they came and where they went when they left. It helped me locate a nest in one of my landscape shrubs and to see a few unusual birds for my area that happened to stop by during spring migration.
Is the Wasserstein Bird Feeder Camera Case critter proof?
One drawback to the design, depending on your preference, is that the Wasserstein Bird Feeder camera case is not at all critter proof. After about a day and a half of use, my local squirrels found the feeder and availed themselves of a free meal. Sure, the squirrels’ antics provided some comic relief, but unfortunately birds stayed away whenever those uninvited guests came around.
Since the feeder was strapped to a tree, there was no way to prevent this from happening. Those who mount the feeder on a pole should consider adding a squirrel baffle beneath the feeder.
Is it easy to recharge the camera in the Wasserstein Bird Feeder Camera Case?
Although the Wasserstein camera’s battery life is quite long—6 to 12 months per charge for the Ring Stick Up camera—it will eventually need a recharge. And that’s when a challenge is bound to arise. In wall-mounted and tree-mounted configurations, the camera case must be disassembled from the mount to access the camera. Then, after 5 to 10 hours of charging time, the camera and feeder must then be reassembled and remounted.
To make recharging easier, Wasserstein offers a solar charger that may be mounted nearby and wired to the camera. It’s an added expense that will still require some maintenance but could add a bit of flexibility into the system’s overall charging and maintenance schedule.
Is the Wasserstein Bird Feeder Camera Case worth the money?
Traditional trail cameras and other bird feeder cameras generally don’t have the flexibility to incorporate different kinds of gear. The Wasserstein Bird Feeder camera case is unique in that it is built to accommodate cameras from different manufacturers with very different body styles. As such, the price could start almost anywhere.
But it’s also a well-built bird feeder. The durable polycarbonate body is thoughtfully designed to attract and feed wild birds, and to house a camera at the best angle for capturing bird pictures. The current $60 to $70 price range seems about right.
Should you buy the Wasserstein Bird Feeder Camera Case?
Wasserstein built a business out of making smart-home electronics more functional, and the bird feeder camera case is a good case in point. It expands the capabilities of a security camera into the realm of entertainment and the enjoyment of nature. Trespassers may only come around on occasion, but the birds are there all the time. This fun device allows you to capture both.
Serious birders may be most interested in the ability to find and photograph unusual visiting species, and what better way to passively do so. When properly equipped and sited near ideal habitat, this camera case can help keep an eye on the nearby landscape as well as the feeder tray that attracts hungry birds. Whether you are a strict bird enthusiast or simply interested in expanding the usefulness of your security camera, the Wasserstein Bird Feeder camera case could be a great choice.
Where to Buy the Wasserstein Bird Feeder Camera Case
Get the Wasserstein Bird Feeder Camera Case at:
Meet the Tester
Mark Wolfe is a writer and product tester with an extensive background in the nursery and landscaping industry. For more than 20 years, he mowed, edged, planted, pruned, cultivated, irrigated, and renovated beautiful landscapes. Now he tests and writes reviews about the latest outdoor power equipment, hand tools, lawn-care products, and other outdoor living goods.