The story so far...

About eight years ago I was trying out a few cheap cameras to attach to my bicycle. One was a tiny little cube thing that was a bit rubbish, and I ended up using a different one. Not being the sort of person to throw anything away ever, the cube was slowly buried under more and more junk until I had a tidy up and found it again. I couldn't think of anything better to do with it than put it in the roof of the bird box I was putting up, using a bit of bent metal to hold it in place and a lens to focus it properly. The excitement of being able to see inside the box soon disappeared when it became obvious that no birds were going to make their nest there, and I forgot about it for 6 years.

Then, in the spring of 2022, something small and feathery was spotted leaving the nest box. I plugged the camera into a Raspberry Pi and set up a quick video stream. The excitement of being able to see inside the box soon disappeared when it became obvious that the camera didn't work any more.

Not being the sort of person to want to spend any more money than absolutely necessary, I decided to see how cheaply I could make a bird box cam. £10.83 is the answer, if you can't be bothered to click that link. I couldn't quite believe that any birds would ever use the nest box, so there didn't seem much point making it any good.

Just in case there was anything to watch, I set up a web site. This is what it looked like originally, and to be frank it's not that much better now. When birds actually started using the box I regretted skimping on the camera so badly. The quality is terrible.

So this is where we were in 2023 - a bird box that birds actually seem to like but only a terrible cheap camera to watch them with. Big upgrades were planned for 2024 - better quality cameras, another box and more!

The big 2024 upgrade!

When D-Ream sang "Things can only get better" with Professor Brian Cox tickling the ivories, they didn't count on me falling off my motorbike, breaking my wrist, and smashing my kneecap into four pieces. I didn't really feel like climbing up ladders with my various bits braced and plastered, so construction work was out of the question. The big upgrade was cancelled, and we have noisy pixellated rubbish for another year. Things can definitely stay the same - sorry.

These are the cameras I was going to install:

This is what the new nestbox was going to look like:

It is cunningly designed to view the beaks from a slight angle, with the entrance hole in the view. The new boxes will also feature outward looking cameras, each pointed at the other's entrance so we can see the baby beaks leaving the nest. There will also be improved infra-red performance from the cameras, as well as far better picture quality overall. So many plans put back a year by a slippery road and a cyclist pulling out in front of a milk delivery van.

Can things get better in 2025, Brian? They can only, surely?


Are you making a TV series for Channel 5 called "The World's Crappiest Webcams"? Get in touch with me by emailing a@

I have a blog here if you want to know more about British pipe threads or setting up a web server using Bash to redirect Wifi logons.

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