Raspberry Pi Bird Box

I love it when I can get my wife roped into these things! Was able to get my hands on a couple more Raspberry Pi’s…in telling my wife what these things are capable of the wheels start turning in her head…”Could you have them watch birds make a nest in a birdhouse?” Of course I can!


So…what did I need?  I needed a Raspberry Pi (of course)….the Pi NoIR camera and an infrared LED.  I ended up steeling an LED off an old little toy helicopter I had that broke.  The radio used LED to talk to the helicopter. I knew I could use this someday! You could use an old TV remote as well. Make sure to pay attention to + and – leads on it when you’re taking it apart…because it does matter!

It only took one ir led for me.  Hook the negative (-) of the led to a 200ohm resistor (red black black for the colors…220 ohm or 200 will work) and then put the other end of the resistor on the ground pin of the GPIO on the Raspberry Pi.  Then put the pos (+) of the led on the 5v of the GPIO of the Pi.  Do this while it’s not turned on of course.


I went with the tutorial here to get the motion sensing camera setup.  Pretty straight forward…well…till the camera didn’t work.  Found here I needed to do “$sudo modprobe bcm2835-v4l2” to get motion to be able to see the NoIR camera.  Now it works great!  Tweaked the motion.conf to my liking (thresholds and output directories and all) and we were cooking!  Video was kind of choppy but for my purposes, worked for me. I did notice that the videos it saved didn’t seem to play well with VLC for some reason.  They actually played better in Windows media player of all things.


I setup Samba on the pi and shared the video folder so that way I could just move them off if I needed to save space on the pi. This worked pretty good.  Basically, anyone on my network could type in \\birdhouse in a window to get the video files.  I also set up the hostname on the pi to be just “birdhouse” so you could view the live stream on my network with just http://birdhouse:8081/.  Thought this was pretty cool.


Then a test run for distance with the wifi…bad news…the tree I wanted to mount the thing on was too far away for my old dlink router.  Racked my brain for a bit on this one as I didn’t want to run an ethernet cord out there….then it hit me…”why not make it a hotspot?” Found a pretty straight forward tutorial here….I had to take it all apart again which was kind of a bummer because you definitely need to hook up a keyboard and mouse and a monitor to do this part. But at least now, distance isn’t an issue.  I can totally reach it from my porch without issue.  Basically, when I want to see what is going on, just use any device to tap into the hostspot…view the live stream…download the videos….whatever! Samba and everything still worked great!  Only thing I’ll have to wire up is the power.

Will update once we have it mounted in the tree. If you’d like more info on how I got this cooking, feel free to comment or message me!

If you’re a neighbor or local, feel free to tap into the ‘birdhouse’ hotspot anytime to see the live feed!

Update: here is the finished product and in the tree! Youtube playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZkNQUudl37anX9uouX4Tg34-PTEWTMCx


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