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Birdhouse Spy Cam





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It was only a matter of time before Reality TV made it to the backyard. Who hasn't watched birds going in and out of a birdhouse and wondered what was going on in there. Ever wish you could get an up close and personal view of hummingbirds sipping nectar, or bees in a hive, or of your koi pond, or horse stall, or dog kennel or . . . Well, now you can. Simply mount our Hawk Eye nature cam wherever you want, run the 100' of cable to the television, plug it in and sit back and be ready to be amazed. Listen too. The Hawk Eye's sensitive microphone brings all the sounds of nature right into the house.


So many students, teachers, custondians, etc. enjoyed the experience of seeing the birds "live"! I have about 8 video tapes. I let the students use the remote to tape when they saw something interesting. I can't thank you enough for a truly wonderful, wonderful experience for my students. It really helped to make the connection between what they have read and what really happens.
- Karen V., Resource Room Teacher, Poughkeepsie, NY

 

I want to let you know how much we are enjoying the birdcam. We have an owl in the box sitting on two eggs. We are tapeing her on the VCR different times of the day. Thanks again and I'll update on the newborn.
- Bobby M., Aylett, Virginia

 

Thanks for the Bluebird hosue! We have really been enjoying it. I got to watch them build a nest (5 days), and so far we have two eggs.?
- Jim B., Harvard, NE

 

We bought the birdhouse as a gift and helped our neighbor lady hang the house this morning and there is already a pair of sparrows building a nest inside! I sat there for over an hour, watching those little birds trying to get everything "just so". What wonderful entertainment! I want to buy one for myself but am afraid I won't get anything done around the house. I would be too busy watching the birds! What an incredibly ingenious thing you have come up with!
- Laura K., Vancouver, WA

 

Incredible! After hanging the birdhouse we went inside and up on our deck to check it out and there were already two bluebirds checking it out . . . with a pair of chickadees waiting in the wings. The chickadees finally took over and spent a good week building their nest, only to have the Bluebirds come back and try to drive them away! The chickadees prevailed, but who ever heard of something like this.
- Linda V., Atlanta, GA

Hawk Eye and Red Robin Nature Cam Trouble Shooting:
We're proud of the quality control we have with our Hawk Eye and Red Robin Nature Cams. But, sometimes things can go wrong. More often than not "fixing" the camera is as simple as plugging it in, or turning to the right TV channel. We welcome your calls if there is a problem, but save yourself some time by trying these suggestions. They've all been reported by past customers.

1) If the TV screen is blank or you get a "no signal" message, you are not getting electricity out to the Nature Cam. Starting at the electrical outlet; is the power adapter plugged into a working power outlet? Is the little light on the adapter lit? If not, try another outlet, or call us for a new adapter. A power surge may have knocked it out.

2) Make certain the white (audio) and yellow (video) RCA plugs at the end of the camera cable are plugged into the correct corresponding plugs on the TV. Make certain the red plug from the power adapter is plugged into the red plug at the end of the cable.

3) Check the entire length of the cable is unbroken. Squirrels and wayward husbands pushing lawnmowers or wielding weed whackers can take their toll.

4) If you are running the Nature Cam through a DVD or VCR player, cable or satellite box, read the instructions that come with the camera carefully. It's easy to have the settings wrong. When you scroll through the Auxillary channels, do so slowly, giving the TV time to find the signal coming from the camera. Test out to make certain the camera is working by plugging it into a simple TV with only one set of inputs. And, don't forget to give the cable a giggle or two where it plugs into the TV. More than a few customers have found they weren't getting reception because of a short in the TVs RCA port.

5) If you are getting some kind of signal; garbled, rolling video or audio, unplug the camera; wait 15 seconds and plug it back in. You may have to do this several times until the TV and Nature Cam synchronize with one other.


Can I use the Hawk Eye on my computer? And, can I stream the video onto the Internet?
Many computers now have RCA (audio- and video-in) ports into which you can plug your Hawk Eye and Red Robin Nature Cams. Make certain these are "in" ports. "In" and "Out" RCA ports look the same . . .little colored holes in the side (yellow is video, white and red are audio). You have to make sure yours are "In". If your computer has RCA "In" ports, it will also have the necessary capturing and editing software. Check your Programs file. Windows comes packaged with MS MovieMaker, a good, but basic editing package, but there are other programs that different manufacturers bundle with their particular machines.

If your computer doesn't have RCA In ports, you'll have to buy an adapter into which you plug the Hawk Eye, and then plug the adapter into the computer's USB port. The one we like best is the Dazzle, made by Pinnacle http://www.pinnaclesys.com/Home+Video . The Dazzle comes bundled with a great capturing, editing, and DVD burning software program currently Studio 14. As good as it is, however, some customers have had compatibility issues with it. So, if you buy, make certain you can return if if your computer and the Dazzle don't get along.

Another good device for getting video and audio into the computer is Hauppauge's WinTv-HVR It also comes with editing software.

All of the above is for getting signals into the computer. From there you can either save it as a file, edit it, and send it to www.youtube.com, which will create an html link for you. Simply copy and send this link to family and friends. Easier yet is to upload it to www.utube.com and use the html code they provide. This is probably the easiest, and least expensive way to go, but, obviously, isn't real time. Visitors to your site will only see highlights of what happened the day before.

For streaming your videos live, register with www.ustream.tv It only takes minutes to set up an account and in no time at all you'll be showing the world what's happening in your back yard.

 

The Hawk Eye is a color camera, but I'm not seeing any in my birdhouse?
Although the Hawk Eye is a color cam, the brightness and intensity of that color depends on the amount of incadescent, or natural light reaching the camera. The size of the birdhouse entrance, whether the house is made of light or dark wood, and brightness of the sun (dawn, noon, dusk, overcast) will influence color intensity. In most cases the color inside a birdhouse will be rather muted. Full color capability is achieved when the Hawk Eye is used outside around birdbaths, feeders, etc.

 I cut the Hawk Eye Nature Cam's cable. Can I repair it? 
While the Hawk Eye cable is fairly tough, a few customers have found it is no match for a lawn mower, weed whacker, or an occasional pesky squirrel. But, fortunately, fixing it isn't that hard to do.

You'll need a pair of wire cutters to trim the broken cable ends, a wire stripper & crimper, four Telephone 26-22 gauge butt connectors (available at Radio Shack or any electronics store), and electrician's tape.

Strip off about an inch of the black insulation from each cable end. There you will find four very small yellow, red, black, and white wires. Strip about a quarter inch of insulation off of these. Careful! This can be difficult as it is easy to cut through the entire wire. Using a "Quick Strip wire stripper" (Google it) makes it a snap though. Now slip each end of the bare wires into one of the butt connectors, and crimp. Seal everything with electrician's tape.

Still confused?  How to repair cable video

How far way does the Hawk Eye focus?
With a few twists of the Hawk Eye's lens (be sure to loosen the little set screw beneath the lens . . . no need to retighten) you can literally see your finger prints from 1/8" away. A couple of twists the other way and you are out to infinity.

More importantly, is the depth of field. From only a few inches away, the entire object (birds in our case) will be in focus. In a typical birdhouse the camera may be anywhere from 3-12 inches above a bird's head, but yet all of the bird and the eggs it is sitting on are in focus.

One other point . . . because the Hawk Eye has a wide angle lens, the apparent size of the object gets very small with distance from the camera. It is therefore best to get the camera as close as possible to the bird feeder, bath, or whatever you are watching.

 

Will the Hawk Eye work in the cold?
Many of our customers live in northern Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Maine and regularly use the camera throughout the year. On of our Canadian customers used it to video flying squirrels when it was -16 below zero.

The manufacturer recommends leaving the camera on all the time, as the minute amount of heat it generates helps prevent any cold damage. As of February 2008 we've had two cameras running 24/7 for four years.

Bear in mind that your Hawk Eye is a piece of electronics, so the more shelter you can give it, the better. A small board, or piece of plastic over the top will go a long way in extending its life.

 Can I extend the Hawk Eye beyond its 100 feet of cable?
Yes, the Hawk Eye can be extended out at least 1000 feet, by daisy-chaining a series of our 100' extension cables, which we offer for sale.

 

How difficult is it to hook up the Hawk Eye cams?
It really couldn't be easier. Simply hang the birdhouse, or attach the Hawk Eye to a post overlooking a feeder; run the cable into the house, plug the audio and video plugs into the appropriate RCA jacks (video-in and audio-in) in the back of the TV. Plug in the power and sit back and enjoy. Here is the two-page brochure that comes with the Hawk Eye: Page 1Page 2.

 

How do I get the cord into the house?
I'm a great one for drilling holes. Just drill through the nearest wall, and run the cord through. Of course you must be sure to avoid any electrical wires or water pipes, and be sure to calk the hole shut.

Your spouse isn't too keen on that idea? OK, then run the cord under a door. Most have a 1/4 "+ gap between the floor and door, which is sealed with a flexible plastic or rubber weather strip. Most doors will easily close with the cord running beneath them.

That won't work? How about through a loose fitting window jam?

That won't work? Do you have a sliding door? There's quite a gap between the sliding part of the door and the permanent, non-sliding side. This is sealed by a rubber gasket or flap through which the camera cord can easily be pushed. Make sure the cord is then attached to the floor or baseboard so that it does not fall into the track the door slides in.

 

Is it safe to use my credit card?
You bet. We wouldn't let you if it wasn't. We have taken every precaution to make your transactions secure. Our Internet site is built on the VeriSign(tm) system which utilizes industry-standard security measures, including SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). Nevertheless, if you prefer, we also offer you the option of submitting your order by telephone or fax at the numbers below. 

All account information submitted to us is safely isolated from unauthorized Internet access.

 

Sales Tax
How about this for a bonus! Oregon is about the only state in the Union that doesn't have a sales tax -- our loss, your gain -- so don't worry about having some hidden tax tacked onto your order.

 

How can I pay for my order?
The fastest way is to whip out the ol' Visa or Master card. We also accept checks and money orders. Orders paid by check cannot be processed until the funds have been verified. If you are sending a check, please send it to the name and address given below.

 

What if I need to return my order?
We can't imagine why you'd want to, unless you happened to get a half dozen as gifts, but, for whatever reason, you may return an item in its original condition for a refund or credit within 30 days of receiving. Shipping charges can only be refunded if the return is due to our error. All returns must be accompanied by the packing slip. After a return has been received, it will take a week or two to process. If using a credit card, refunds will be credited to your account. If paying by check or money order, a refund check will be mailed to you. We suggest using UPS or insured Parcel Post for your protection.

What if you don't have all of the items in stock?
If an item you ordered is out of stock, it will be back-ordered automatically. We will do our best to keep you apprised of your order status.

 

What is your privacy policy?
Simply put, we will not sell, trade, or rent ANY of your personal information to others.

Research project near Park Rapids, Minnesota watches nesting loons.