Honest Hands-On Test: Netvue Bird Feeder Camera review

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Netvue Bird Feeder Camera review

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.

Key Takeaways:

  • 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.

Click here to take a look at the Netvue Birdfy Bird Feeder Lite on Amazon

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
Netvue Birdfy Installation Options

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.

Netvue Bird Feeder using the Tripod Adapter

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.

Battery Life

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.

Lighting Features

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
  • 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.

Sound Features

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.

Sleep Setting

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.

However…

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.

5-Days of Bird AI Testing at different locations.

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!

Netvue AI detecting different species

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.

Some incorrect AI Recognitions

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.

Birdfy Pictures

Finally we got an up close view of our resident Wren!
One of our resident Male House Finches
Northern Mockingbirds enjoying the Birdfy Suet attachment
The birdfy camera showed us how messy the Northern mockingbirds were
Feeding time for a juvenile Northern Mockingbird

Birdfy Videos

Male Northern Cardinal enjoying the Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
Feeding time for a Juvenile Northern Mockingbird
Close up of our resident male Northern Cardinal

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.

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Author
I am an avid birdwatcher with a passion for learning all I can about these fantastic creatures. I love finding new species of birds in my backyard, neighborhood, or when I travel. I enjoy sharing everything I learn about how these creatures live their lives; feedback and experience is much appreciated!

7 thoughts on “Honest Hands-On Test: Netvue Bird Feeder Camera review”

  1. Hello John: Thank you so much for this article, I received the Netvue Birdfeeder along with the Hummingbird add-on from my kids for my 80th birthday. My biggest problem was – where do I put it? I decided to use a tripod which I ordered on Amazon but the mounting pad was too large and I have returned it. You mention that you used the Amazon Basic tripod – I have now ordered it – but you mention that it was a tight squeeze- am I going to have a problem? I am somewhat non-mechanical and it took a bit of time tonget the feeder together. I have been watching my backyard friends for over 50 years and I love them all. I only feed the birds in the winter ( just throwing seed twice a day) as the rodents kept getting at my feeders. I have decided not to fill the feeder with seed- I will just put some in the tray and use the hummingbird attachment for my hummers ( i already have 3 feeders). Do you have the hummingbird attachment – just wondered how you clean it. I think it might be a bit of a job to clean it – I like to sterilize my feeders each time I refill. I have just downloaded the app and am ready to go – just waiting for the tripod. Your article was truly helpful – Thank You
    Roberta Doyle

    Reply
    • Hi Roberta,

      Happy Belated 80th birthday!

      We are using the 60″ Amazon Basics Tripod and although it is a tight fit (The clamp doesn’t close) we have enjoyed being able to move the feeder around the back porch when either the weather is bad or when we want to view from a different angle.
      We will eventually install it to a permanent location but we too cant decide where to put it. For now we are happy to be able to move it around.
      It is stable enough to hold multiple birds at once, but the occasional possum will climb up and only sometimes tip it over. You may need some help installing it to a permanent spot as it will require some lifting and use of tools and clamps, which might be a nice weekend project for your kids or grandkids 😉

      We too have 2-3 hummingbird feeders we use constantly and we found that the our hummingbirds preferred our glass nectar feeders to the hummingbird attachment on the Netvue feeder. It could be due to the fact that we have multiple backyard birds always at the Netvue feeder which seem to scare the hummers away. Cleaning the hummingbird attachment should be an easy soap and water job with a good thorough rinse after.

      Hopefully this info has helped and please dont be shy to reach back out!

      Reply
      • Hello Jonathan
        Thank you for responding. I did get the Amazon Basic tripod and after some difficulties did get the feeder mounted. I sent a video if my first bird (Black Capped Chickadee, of course, to my son and daughter and they both stated that the camera was not focused properly. Have you had this problem? Have been searching the web to find out how to focus camera but have found no answers. I have sent email to Netvue but no reply yet. Any ideas? Thank you again for your article – it was a great help – and the Birthday wishes
        Roberta Doyle
        rdd@shaw.ca

        Reply
        • Hi Roberta,

          Glad to hear you got it all set up and caught your first bird! We didnt have that problem with the focus. Did you manage to get it fixed?

          Reply
  2. Hi Jon,

    Thanks for the great review. I just purchased the Birdfy Lite and set it up to record movement at a Chestnut-backed chickadee nest box. The box is in use and I didn’t want to disturb the nesting birds, so I mounted it on a staircase about 4 feet from the nestbox. Unfortunately, the focus on this camera is preset to about 6 inches from the lens and the nest is out of focus and quite small in the view. Do you know of any add-on lens that would allow the image to zoom in or at least to focus to the distance I need?

    Reply
    • Hi Glenn

      I am glad you got some value from our review! Unfortunately I am unaware of any add-on lenses or web cameras that might work in this situation.
      It has sparked my interest though and will be on the lookout for lenses that may work with this type of product.

      Reply

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