Earlier this year I built two bird houses and put cameras in them as gifts for family members. At the end of that post I mentioned that the company I bough the cameras from, Netvue, invited me into their testing program to give feedback on a product, called Birdfy Nest. I received my Nest a couple of weeks ago and I set it up in my back yard. I wanted to write this post as sort of an unboxing and to show some detailed photos of what to expect from the Birdfy Nest.
On first impression, the box the Nest ships in was a little heavier than I expected, but it turns out there's a lot in the box. The retail box for the nest fits nicely into its shipping box, then inside the retail box there is the Nest birdhouse and a series of little boxes for the solar panel and the mounting accessories. There were also a couple of other cardboard boxes used to protect the gap between the top of the birdhouse and the vented roof, as well as the outer camera.
One thing I really appreciated was that they included a ribbon as sort of a temporary handle to help you pull all of this out of the box, instead of having to turn the box upside down and hoping things don't go all over the place.
The box also comes with two instruction booklets. One is an installation guide that walks you through the installation options and how to use the gear that comes with the Nest. The other booklet is the user manual and it includes things like the parts list and some other standard user manual info. One of the things I really liked is that the manuals included information around how to change the predator guard (the doorway with the hole that the bird enters the box) and they give some suggestions on good places to mount the Nest.
The first thing the instructions tell you to do is to charge the camera unit up. The Nest comes with a USB-A-to-USB-C cable so as long as you have a cell phone charging brick around you’re all set (no need to pull the solar panel out just yet). To access the camera unit you can pull down the main door from the side of the Nest.
If you want, you can plug the charging cable right into the camera unit, or you can unplug the cables going into it and slide the whole camera unit out of the Nest.
With the camera charging, the next step is to set up the outer camera. In order to do this there's a piece of tape you need to remove, then there's a cover that you need to slide off. The instructions make this clear with some really helpful illustrations.
For someone with big fingers, installing the outer camera was a tiny bit tricky. The first step is to turn the camera 180 degrees so the lens is facing the front entrance of the birdhouse. There are guide hole that make this easy to do, but the tricky part is that there are four screws that need to be lined up and screwed into the wooden side. There are pre-drilled holes there already but I found my self having a hard time keeping the screws from falling into the hole used for the camera wire. The screws rolled right out, but it took me a few extra attempts to get it right.
Once the outer camera is fastened to the side you can slip the cover back on. Another neat trick is that you can tilt the camera down. To do this you can pull the camera forward a bit, rotate it, then let it snap into place. I tilted it down a notch to point the lens right at the entrance hole.
The three accessory boxes were split up like this:
This box included a mixed bag of an accessories. In this box you’ll find the a charging cable you can use the first time you set up the camera. There's also a screwdriver you can use to mount the Nest and install the outer camera.
The Nest also comes with two alternate predator guards. One has a hole that is larger than the standard one and the other has a hole that is smaller. The smaller hole provides more protection from predators, but it means only smaller birds can fit comfortably through the hole and reside in your Nest. I chose to keep the standard guard on, but I may consider moving to the larger hole to attract larger birds in the future. The user manual shows you how you can access and then replace the guard.
One of the most important pieces in this box is a mounting plate. This plate attaches to another mounting piece on the back of the Nest. You can choose to screw the mounting plate directly onto a flat surface, using the screws included in this box. There is a paper template that you can use to help mark where the screw holes will go.
If you want to mount your Nest onto a pole there are two smaller hose clamps and two that are slightly larger. You can unscrew the clamp all the way and feed it into the mounting plate, then tighten it around the pole you are mounting it to.
Finally, there is a third options, using the tree-mounting strap found in another box.
You can feed the tree-mounting strap through the mounting plate, wrap it around a tree or a larger post, then tighten it up and lock it into place.
I really like all of the mounting options. I planned on mounting my Nest to a pole, but I’m going to keep the other accessories around so in case I need to move the Nest someday I’ll have the flexibility to try one of the other mounting options.
The solar panel is an awesome accessory. It saves you from having to remove the camera to charge it up—disturbing the birds residing in your birdhouse. It comes with two mounting options. There’s a screw-on wall mount that can be rotated to face the sun. The solar panel has a really long USB-C cable that means you can mount the birdhouse where you'd like and then mount the solar panel in an area where you'll get optimal sunlight.
The other option is a posable mount that screws into the ¼ inch standard mount on the back of the solar panel. This mount can be bent and wrapped around a pole or a fencepost. Just note that the posable mount can be found in a different box than the solar panel.
To mount my Nest onto a pole I fed two of the smaller hose clamps into the mounting plate. I also used the posable mount and attached that to the solar panel so I can mount that onto the same pole.
Before putting the mount on the pole I checked the orientation with the mount on the back of the Nest.
I see that Netvue just announced a poll that would work in this situation, but I had picked this pole up at a local garden center. I also picked up a squirrel baffle, just like I did for my bird feeder. Finally, I 3D-printed the topper to keep rain out of the top of the pole.
I added the solar panel in a way where I could hide it when you look straight on, but I might move this again after seeing how much sun we get over the next couple of weeks.
I had already gotten familiar with the Netvue app from my previous experience with the Birdfy Cameras I purchased. Recently Netvue came out with a new app that’s dedicated to their Birdfy line of cameras. It seems more focused on sharing the story of the birds that reside in your Nest, as well as using AI features to help you identify the birds that visit your Nest.
The setup process is quite painless and I had the app connected to my camera in just a couple of minutes. The only thing I haven’t tried yet is the bird recognition AI feature, but I’ll likely turn that on in the spring, when we have some more traffic around the Nest. Within my first week of setting up the camera I had already had a visitor (my guess is it was maybe a House Sparrow).
One of the features that stood out to me is that when your camera detects motion and captures a clip, the app gives you the option to "Collect" the bird in the clip. When you hit the "Collect" button, it saves the clip and tags it with the species of the bird. My kids—who are huge fans of Pokémon—really like this feature and the idea of building out a collection of the birds around our house.
The folks behind the Birdfy Nest really went all out to design this birdhouse. When I was doing research for my homemade birdhouses a lot of features that were suggested by other makers included things like adding a screen at the bottom, adding ventilation, adding notches below the entrance hole to help birds climb out, using a specific diameter for the predator guard and entrance hole, having a door that opens up so you can clean it every year, etc...
When I was building the birdhouses I did some of these things, but I didn't get around to adding all of these features (specifically the mesh screen). This birdhouse just comes with all of those things built into it. I can’t think of anything I would have done differently, feature wise.
There is something to be said for learning how, and then building your own birdhouse, but for most folks I think this is the way to go.