Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New feature on Heather of the Hills

Some of you may have noticed something new over in the sidebar. Yes folks, I am now hosting live, streaming video of our bird feeders via Ustream, viewable right here on Heather of the Hills.

Ideally, I would like to post snippets of interesting video here in the main pages of my blog, but that could be a bit of a challenge. The web cam runs on the home computer while we are at work all day, and the only way you can record what is streaming is by hitting a "start recording" button on the page, which can only be done from the computer at home, but I'm not at home during the day.... and you see the problem.

I'll try to record some stuff on the weekends if I see something cool going on out there, but I guess you all are just going to have to tune in every once in a while to see for yourself what's going on!

Dave built a very nifty, weatherproof box for the cam out of available (recycled/reused) materials.

We've finally got the cam in a location near the feeders that I think we like. It seems to be working pretty well. The birds aren't bothered by it at all, and it gives a rather decent picture. One cool thing is that so far this week we've been watching Tufted Titmice really enjoying the peanut feeder.

I put that feeder up about a month ago, and it took several weeks for it to catch on. I started noticing that the level of peanuts was dropping, but never really saw who was taking the nuts. I was hoping to attract Blue Jays with that feeder, but then I realized that may not be the ideal way for them to perch while they take food. Thankfully the Titmice have finally figured out there's good stuff being offered there.

I tried really hard this weekend to get a picture of this Titmouse actually nabbing a peanut from the feeder, but he said "nanny nanny boo boo" and gave me lots of butt shots and misses.

By the way, the current schedule for the cam is Monday-Friday, 7:30am-5pm (approximately) Eastern time. We'll try to run it some on the weekends, but we haven't really tested how much bandwidth the streaming video eats up, and how much it might limit our other online activity.


Shellmo said...

I have been bugging my husband for something like this! How cool! And what a great box Dave built to house this in! I am looking forward to seeing the streaming views!

NW Nature Nut said...

I want one too! I will be showing this to Mr. Nut.

By the way, I have seen Scrub Jays clean that feeder out in 15 minutes flat. Maybe they are more piggish than Blue Jays?

Andy said...

Peanuts are consumed fast and the Titmouse love'em!

RuthieJ said...

I love your live streaming webcam! I would like to get one of these at my house so I can see what's going on at the feeders while I'm at work.
You've got lots of nice feeders too. Your local bird store owners must love you!

Heather said...

Shelley - yes, Dave really deserves all the credit for the cam, as it was pretty much all his idea. Hope you get a chance to watch some of the live video.

NWNN - I've read that Blue Jays can be pretty piggy, I just assume they've got something better going on somewhere else!

Andy - Yes, our Titmice are cleaning out that feeder faster and faster these days. It's really fun to watch them work those nuts!

Ruthie - One of the best things about the cam is being able to watch the birds from my desk at work. That is so fun. And it's nice to see the dogs when they come out on the deck, too.