Continuing with my bird posts. . .
Today, I bring you Part 2: The One About the Bird Buddy.

Last summer, I was bombarded on Instagram with promos for the Bird Buddy bird feeder/camera. At first, I just ignored them. Although I was charmed by the photo feature, the feeder itself looked small and rather “complicated.” I feel like a bird feeder should be sturdy — and not tech-y; built to withstand weather and squirrels and springtime grackle-attacks. (Remember . . . my current feeder is at least 25 years old – and while it may not be “cute,” it is made of metal, it’s incredibly sturdy and it has stood up to everything Michigan weather – and garden wildlife – can throw at it.)

Besides . . . this Bird Buddy? Expensive! (Stupid expensive.)

Finally, I caved, though. It was those bird photos. They eventually wore me down. And there was a sale. So I ordered one. And I also ordered a solar roof for battery-charging. And I ordered a post-conversion kit for mounting it on an existing post in the garden. I decided it was . . . An Investment. (And Tom encouraged me, so I felt less guilty about the stupid expensive part.)

Once I received the feeder, I was pretty skeptical. It looked . . . like it wouldn’t hold up all that well — especially if/when the squirrels discovered it, or if/when there was rough weather. But . . . what the heck. We gave it a try. Tom installed it for me in late November, and it took a good week before the birds found it, and then another week before I started getting photos. (I swore it was a bust; I was really frustrated at first.) But then? Holy moly! It works! I started getting bird photos so fast I could barely keep up with them!

The solar roof works to keep the camera charged, but our gloomy winter has made it challenging to keep it charged . . . enough. Luckily, it’s easy to bring just the camera inside for some emergency-back-up charging. I dismantled the camera and removed it entirely before the weather turned really nasty here recently. I wasn’t sure how the Buddy would hold up in blizzard winds (it was fine), but I knew for sure that a lengthy run of sub-zero temps would NOT be good for the camera battery. So I popped the camera out, but left the feeder up. (The feeder still works as a feeder, of course, whether the camera is hooked up or not.) (When it warms up later this week, I’ll pop the camera back in the feeder.)

Is it worth it?
Yeah. I think it is.  The feeder is more sturdy and stable than I initially thought it would be. And the camera feature/app works exactly as promoted. Not every picture is a great picture – but a lot of them are. And it’s kinda thrilling to see these little guys up close!



Some photos are just hilarious . . .


And, of course . . . we do have visitors we haven’t invited! (But everybody’s gotta eat . . . )


My winter seed-eating bird population is pretty much what you see in these photos . . . plus juncoes, sparrows (lots of sparrows), and purple finches. (I didn’t want to bore you with too many photos here. . . ) Now I kinda wish my other feeders had cameras, too — because I’d love to see the woodpeckers and nuthatches at work on the suet feeders.

And I think it’ll be really fun to see who pops in when the spring migration starts!

Bottom line . . . I’m glad I made my Bird Buddy investment. I’ve had it installed for about 2 months at this point, and so far, it’s held up through some really nasty winter weather — and a pack of hungry squirrels. It does just what they claim it will do — capture photos (and video) of birds at your feeder. It’s sturdier than it looks. It’s easy to use (although the directions are minimal; just sayin). It’s cute. The photos really are charming.

So far, so good.

(If you’re thinking of getting one for yourself, I’ll be glad to answer any specific questions. And . . . keep this in mind: when you place your Bird Buddy, it has to be in a location with a strong WiFi signal. I didn’t know this when I ordered it, and it derailed my original placement plans for a while. It’s all working out, though.)