Home » Other Categories » The Best Bird Watching Cameras for Beginners

The Best Bird Watching Cameras for Beginners

Cameras have long been part of bird watching, but more and more casual bird watchers use cameras to record their bird feeders at home.

New to the hobby? Pick up some handy tips on how to use cameras for bird watching and find out how to do it for free!

What Is the Best Camera for Bird Watching?

For professional wildlife photographers, exceptional high speed performance and sophisticated autofocus features are essential. With that in mind, the best cameras for bird watching include:

  • Canon EOS R5, R3 & R10.
  • Nikon D850
  • Olympus OM-D E-M1X
  • Nikon Z9
  • Sony A1

For the casual bird watcher that’s new to the hobby, IP security cameras are an excellent way to keep an eye on feathered friends taking pit stops at the birdfeeder. 

Professional wildlife photography is very expensive, so we wouldn’t recommend splurging on professional equipment if you’re new to the hobby or just curious about what goes on in the yard. Start simple with an IP camera or old phone

What Security Camera Can Watch Birds?

Most security cameras can watch birds, including all AlfredCamera compatible products.

Indoor cameras are easily placed at windows to view outside into the yard, while outdoor cameras are better suited for getting close to the action.

AlfredCam_Plus_Amy Baldwin
AlfredCam Plus in action.

Aside from being an excellent security camera, AlfredCam Plus is perfect for watching birds. It’s IP65 rated, meaning it’s suitable for use outdoors and can withstand the elements. 

What Is the Best Outdoor Camera for Bird Feeders?

AlfredCam Plus is an ideal outdoor camera for viewing bird feeders because it has an unusually wide variety of mounting options. Since all yards are different, it makes it easier to get the best view of the bird feeder and surrounding trees.

AlfredCam Plus is easily

  • Attached to metal surfaces with its magnetic base.
  • Drilled into hard surfaces using screws.
  • Stuck to interior surfaces with a 3M sticker. 
  • Tied to poles and other cylindrical shapes using plastic zip ties.  

Crystal clear 2K QHD puts everything into perspective, while Premium users can even turn on animal detection to get notified whenever Alfred spots an animal moving.

It’s also one of the most affordable outdoor cameras for bird watching, making it an ideal way to get started if you’ve been curious about the hobby but don’t want to break the bank.

Budget Bird Feed Cameras vs Professional Wildlife Photography: How to Choose Bird Feeder Cameras

If you’re just getting into bird watching, you might feel unsure about what you need versus what you don’t.. Here’s the four essential things to consider before choosing a bird feeder camera.

1. Budget

Professional wildlife photography and videography requires a small fortune. In other words, novices should not splurge on high end cameras overnight.. 

Phones are the most affordable way to get into bird watching, and are perfectly adept at taking pictures of birds in their yard or watching them throughout the day using AlfredCamera. 

In the latter example, an old phone serves as the camera, while your current phone controls it and views the feed.

2. Interest

Bird watching in the traditional sense typically involves using binoculars, or even just the naked eye. Whether you need a bird watching camera, and what kind if you do, depends on what interests you.

For artistic purposes, cameras capable of high speed photography are necessary. 

Casual bird watchers that aren’t interested in photographing the birds can instead use surveillance cameras, which enable you to never miss a beat.

3. Surveillance or Photography

Recording or photographing birds typically requires more expensive DSLR cameras to achieve. 

Casual bird watchers might also consider just using their phone or a cheap camera to record or photograph birds from time to time. Nowadays, smartphones achieve what GoPros and other digital cameras are capable of.

Surveillance, on the other hand, typically means the camera is on 24/7. It does most of the work for you, and alerts you if motion is detected.

4. Motion Detection or Continuous Recording

Some surveillance cameras support motion detection, some support continuous recording.

Some, like all AlfredCamera compatible devices, support both motion detection and continuous recording.

With motion detection enabled, the camera only records when motion is detected. It might also send a notification to a linked device.

Continuous recording means the camera records everything. This footage saves to a memory card or is uploaded to the cloud. It may also simply write over itself in a loop. 

“I’m using the app to watch the birds building their nest and hopefully breeding soon.” 


How Do You Set Up a Bird Feeder Camera?

Capture the beauty of the birds in your backyard by setting up a camera that views the bird feeder. Here’s how to set it up in 5 simple steps!

1. Choose an ideal location

Every yard is different, so ideal locations differ greatly. Choose a spot with a clear view of the bird feeder that has some cover to prevent blurriness in the rain. Ideally, choose a location that minimizes how much the sun directly hits the lens throughout the day. Alternatively, choose a window or door that enables a clear view from the inside if using an indoor camera.

A Blue Jay retreats from a feeder with some food in its beak.

2. Choose a bird feeder camera

Select a camera that’s appropriate for your budget, interests, and other needs. Weather resistance is a must if the camera is outside, while features like night vision might also be of importance if you want round the clock viewing.

3. Gather equipment

Before mounting the camera, make sure you have:

  • Bird watching camera
  • Memory card with ample memory or cloud storage
  • All necessary mounting equipment (screws, brackets)
  • A drill
  • Power source
  • Relevant app downloaded to your phone for monitoring

4. Mount the bird feeder camera

Turn the camera on and open the app to check the live feed. Then, experiment with the viewing angle before committing to the exact mounting position.

If the camera works over the internet, now is a good time to test it out. Weak connection? Head back to step 1!

Once you’ve decided on where it’ll go, mount the camera by securing the mounting bracket and using a drill to screw the included screws. You could also mount the camera using a magnet if the surface it’s attached to is metallic, or plastic zip ties (handy if it needs to attach to a column or something cylindrical).

5. Arm the camera

Once the camera is secure and tilted to an appropriate angle, it’s time to arm it. Enable motion detection if you want the camera to only record when motion is picked up. This may also send a notification to your phone via the app.

Otherwise, enable continuous recording to make the camera record nonstop.

If you want to film your bird feeder from multiple angles, you’ll have to invest in multiple cameras. If you are using devices that store the footage they record, you’ll have to review the footage on the devices separately. You’ll also have no way of knowing when and where a bird appears in the video.

With app monitoring such as that offered by AlfredCamera, you can connect multiple devices and review the footage as one feed. You can also easily identify any areas in which movement was detected by the app. 


Are bird cameras worth it?

Are trail cameras good for bird watching?

Trail cameras are great for bird watching, particularly in a bird’s natural habitat because they allow the photographer to take a photo without disturbing the subject.

How do you record birds at a feeder?

Record birds at a feeder for free using AlfredCamera, a free surveillance camera app that converts a spare phone or tablet into a motion detection camera. View the live feed from your current phone, where you can also manually record.


Surveillance cameras are really useful as bird watching cameras, a great tool for monitoring your bird feeder and making sure that you don’t miss out on any interesting sightings.