Backyard bird watching is all the rave these days, and it’s pretty amazing to watch and identify these fascinating creatures.
Unfortunately, most of us, though, aren’t able to watch and enjoy our backyard birds all day.
The answer to this is a smart bird feeder camera that you can set up in your backyard to capture and notify you of all the birds coming in for a visit when you aren’t around.
You are here because you want to know whether the Netvue Birdfy Smart Bird Feeder Camera is worth the hefty price tag and which version of the Birdfy feeder series you should spend your money on.
Being passionate bird lovers and backyard bird watchers prompted us to purchase the Netvue Bird feeder Cam and see for ourselves.
In our honest opinion, it is a fantastic piece of bird watching technology that brings you closer to your backyard birds, but we wouldn’t recommend buying the most expensive Birdfy AI version; in fact, we would argue that you only need the less expensive Netvue Birdfy Lite to enhance your backyard bird feeding experience.
The rest of this article will continue the Netvue Bird Feeder Camera review and explain why we think you only need the Birdfy Lite version.
We have also included some pictures and videos to help you better decide whether this is a feeder camera for you.
- The Netvue Birdfy Feeder Cam is a fun piece of Tech.
- The Netvue Birdfy Lite is a great package to start with, and you can add accessories and subscriptions later if needed.
- You don’t need the Netvue Birdfy AI (unless you are new and want help identifying birds).
- The AI is accurate about 88% of the time (from our tests).
- The Birdfy AI is inaccurate during overcast or cloudy days.
- Real-time notifications are quick but can be tiresome (300+ notifications in one day).
- Free 30-Day History Cloud Storage means you don’t need to purchase a micro SD Card or a subscription.
- Would make a great gift for any bird lover.
Netvue Birdfy Feeder Camera Review
The Netvue Birdfy Camera series comes in a lite and AI version. They are essentially the same weather resistant, top-loading, self-contained bird feeder camera but the AI version has a free lifetime subscription to the AI technology.
You also have the option to bundle your Netvue Birdfy camera with different attachments or add-ons to help attract birds, which include the:
We decided to purchase the Netvue Birdfy Feeder Lite with Pro Perch because it came with a free 7-day trial to their AI and all the metaphorical bells and whistles, such as Hummingbird Feeder, Suet Ball, Jelly Feeder, Fruit Fork, two small trays, and a squirrel baffle to prevent squirrels from eating from the bird seed tray.
We wanted to get all that Netvue had to offer so that we could better serve our reader’s interests and give honest feedback about whether this is an excellent outdoor bird camera.
After all, there is a significant price difference between the Lite and AI versions.
Netvue Birdfy Setup Process
The camera and components were straightforward to set up, and it took 5 minutes to put the perch and roof on the bird feeder housing.
We were shocked to learn that before you can use the feeder, you must charge the camera for up to 14 hours; that’s right, 14 hours to charge!
The Birdfy app setup took about 15 mins, from downloading the Netvue App, creating an account, and getting the feeder camera connected to wifi and the App itself.
The Netvue guidebook that comes in the box is beneficial and provides easy step-by-step instructions.
One slight issue we had with connecting our Netvue Birdfy device to the Netvue App was the barcode scanning from the camera to the barcode on your phone.
It is a clever way to connect your device and the App, but it took a few tries to get the phone angled at just the correct position for the feeder camera to read the barcode.
We also had a slight issue activating our 7-day free trial of Birdfy AI.
We purchased the Birdfy Pro setup, which meant it came with a 7-day free trial of their bird recognition AI.
Finding where to activate the trial was difficult, and we assumed the AI trial started when we created an account and connected our device.
To activate the 7-day free trial, we had to go to the “My Coupons” section of the App and find the trial coupon.
Netvue Bird Feeder Installation (Where did we put it?)
Netvue gives you several ways to install or mount your bird feeder. They provide a black strap, metal hose clamp, mounting bracket, and a Tripod Adapter.
- Mounting Bracket – For Walls and Posts
- Hose Clamp – For mounting on a bird feeder pole
- Black Strap – For installing on trees
- Tripod Adapter – For installing or mounting on Large Camera tripods
My wife and I couldn’t decide where to place our feeder camera, so we used the tripod adapter and mounted our Birdfy camera on one of our large camera tripod.
We used a sizeable 60-inch tripod that barely fits the Birdfy mounting plate.
We suggest using a tripod with a larger mounting plate if you mount your camera this way.
This is the one we used from Amazon Basics for reference in the picture below.
With this installation, we could move the camera around several areas of our backyard.
Some locations were better than others at accommodating our wild birds, so we now know the best places to permanently install our Netvue Bird camera to get the most bird traffic.
So if you are still determining the best spot to get the most bird visitors, we recommend using the tripod adapter and experimenting with different locations around your backyard or porch first.
Netvue provides a good explanation of how to mount the bird feeder in their instruction manual.
Birdfy Camera Performance
Video and Picture Quality
The picture quality on the camera is great, and the video playback shows excellent detail. The camera has a 1080p resolution that captures images and short video clips in great detail.
We noticed some poor image and video quality on foggy days from condensation, which is normal.
The camera has a microphone and offers night vision, so you can also hear your birds and see them in low-light conditions—more on these features in our App review below.
The battery life is brilliant; we charged it for a full 14hrs (as stated in the guide), and after two weeks, we are still at 70% battery.
At this rate, the camera should last at least six weeks before it needs to be charged again.
Our version came with the optional solar panel to extend the battery life.
We plan to use that when we finally find a place to install our feeder. We chose not to use it to test how long the battery lasts.
Suppose you don’t plan on buying the optional Birdfy solar panel. In that case, you can charge the battery via the type C power cable.
Design and Build Quality
The build quality of the Netvue Birdfy Camera is good. The feeder housing is made from a decent plastic material, and only time will tell if it holds up in the long run with changing weather conditions.
We haven’t had the camera long enough to test its long-term durability.
However, the feeder has fallen over twice already, and neither the camera nor the feeder housing has sustained any damage.
Because we have the camera mounted on a tripod, it was toppled over once by a squirrel (we think) and once by 60mph winds.
Both times the camera stayed on, and there was no damage to the feeder housing.
We like the design of the feeder camera also, as it has few parts and is really easy to add more bird food.
The seed container has a 1.5L seed capacity which means it can hold a decent amount of bird seed.
Netvue App Usability
The App is easy enough to use and will take a few minutes of playing around to adjust all your settings.
The camera has three lighting settings to help improve your experience.
The indicator light is a light that lets you know what status the camera is currently in, such as:
- charging is complete
- if the camera is on
The alarm flash setting lights up any bird that sets off the motion detection to help capture better images in low-light conditions.
The night vision setting allows you to toggle night vision mode on and off, choose between infrared or white light mode, and adjust the light sensitivity of night vision.
We have yet to experience any birds visiting the feeder at night, so we can’t speak to the quality of the night vision.
It works, but we don’t have many backyard bird species in our area that are most active at night.
The birdy camera has ok audio and has the option to talk through the device.
We found that the audio on the playback videos was faint, and you would only hear the birds if they were close to the camera.
As for the talk feature, we have yet to have a reason to use that.
Motion detection Features
The motion detection on the camera is quite good, and Netvue gives you the option of turning motion detection on or off, adjusting the sensitivity, duration, and resolution.
We kept the settings at a medium sensitivity, a duration of 20 seconds, and in high definition.
With these motion detection settings, we had no problems being notified of any visitors to our feeder.
At times the camera detected hummingbirds visiting our hummingbird feeders about 4 feet away.
The sleep setting is a great feature of the camera for one main reason: minimizing the notifications you receive during the day.
We have an active backyard full of birds and receive over a hundred daily notifications.
It can become bothersome when you are at work or out with people.
Having a sleep feature where you can create a “sleep schedule” is quite handy, especially when you need fewer distractions and want to save some of the battery.
General Netvue App Usability
The general usability was quite good on the App. One thing that we did notice while using the App is that two people cannot be watching live video at the same time.
The camera will lose connection if more than one person is viewing the live video feed, and I am not sure why that is.
Whoever tries to view the live feed second gets the following message.
We also found that if one person changes a setting on the App, it applies to the camera and not to that person’s App experience.
For example, my wife was tired of being bombarded with constant notifications, so she turned the “Motion Alert” off, meaning no one would receive notifications.
This could all be because we had one Netvue Account on two iphone devices instead of two separate Netvue Accounts.
Netvue Birdfy AI
The Netvue AI Recognition on the Birdfy camera is an excellent feature but is not absolutely needed.
Seasoned bird watchers should be able to identify most visiting birds in their garden or backyard.
We know exactly what birds visit our yard consistently, so getting a bird identification notification from Netvue AI seemed pointless.
It reached a point where we could almost guess which bird had alerted us to their presence, and more often than not, it was a male or female house finch.
For us, paying $4.99 monthly for Birdfy AI didn’t seem worth it.
If you are new to birdwatching and cannot identify the birds in your backyard, I would consider subscribing to the AI for about one to two months.
One to two months should be enough time to learn how to identify your backyard birds.
You can still purchase the Netvue Birdfy Lite and subscribe to the AI as an add-on.
Chances are that after two months of AI recognition Help from Netvue, you will probably have seen all the usual suspects that eat from your feeder.
It should be enough time for you to learn how to identify all your backyard birds.
Is the Birdfy AI Any Good, Though?
Netvue claims that their Artificial Intelligence can identify up to 6000 species of birds, which is challenging to test.
Still, the AI was correct about 88% of the time in identifying the usual bird visitors to our feeders.
Installing our Birdfy Feeder on the tripod allowed us to move it around to see where it would get the most bird traffic and visitors.
In doing so, we noticed something interesting about the AI’s performance in different lighting conditions.
What we found impressive about the AI was that it could detect multiple birds simultaneously.
Sometimes all from the same species, and other times we saw about three different species identified correctly in one shot. Very cool!
However, we did notice that the AI would sometimes recognize a bird incorrectly on cloudy or overcast days.
This was due to the birds appearing darker or in shadow, which meant that the AI could not pick up some features specific to each bird species.
The AI would confuse a House Sparrow with a European Starling and a Northern Mockingbird with a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, for example, as seen in the images below.
A feature on the Netvue App allows for an “Alarm Flash” that may counter this issue.
The camera will flash several times when it detects motion, lighting up the bird for a better view.
It’s initially alarming but an option on those cloudy days or dusk.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does Birdfy require a subscription?
No, you are not required to have a subscription to use your Birdfy camera.
Netvue gives you free 30-day cloud storage with the option to extend that to 60-day cloud storage with their upgraded subscriptions.
What App do I use for Netvue Birdfy?
You can use the regular Netvue app and add your Birdfy feeder camera as an additional device, so if you have any other Netvue products and the Netvue App, it’s as easy as adding a new device to your existing App.
Does Netvue Birdfy require an SD Card?
Netvue Birdfy does not require an SD Card to save images and video. Netvue gives you 30 days of image and video history free of charge.
If you want to extend your saved history, you can use an SD Card or upgrade your subscription with Netvue.
Review of the Netvue Bird Feeder Camera
The Netvue Birdfy Bird Feeder Camera is a fantastic piece of technology that brings you closer to your backyard birds.
We noticed behaviors we had never seen before, such as exciting feeder etiquette and displays of dominance from certain birds.
We have enjoyed using it and plan to find the Birdfy Feeder Camera a permanent home in our backyard.
With that being said, we recommend buying the Birdfy Lite not only because it is a better price point for most people but because it offers an excellent basic package to start with and can upgrade parts and features as necessary.
Whether you are a seasoned bird watcher or just starting your backyard birdwatching journey, the Netvue Bird Feeder Camera will bring you hours of birding enjoyment.
We hope this article has provided all the information you need to make a purchasing decision and addresses any concerns or questions you have.
Let us know if you have questions or have some experience with the Birdfy camera you would like to share!
We would love to help our readers be as informed as possible.