About the project
Live streams of feeders are increasingly being used to observe animal species. Their practical uses also include individual bird species. “Last year we had 107 species of birds. We have also become more involved in the birding community here and many birders from around the world have visited our place,” says Kent Ladell, owner of the feeders and founder of the Foothills Birds project. He says the number of bird feeders and birds is increasing.
“We are located in the Foothills of the Rocky Mountains, east of Kananaskis Country, Canada. Our access to high-speed Internet has not been very good. A few years ago we finally were able to upgrade to high-speed Internet capable of supporting streaming video,” he adds. That‘s why they thought it would be nice to share the bird activity in their backyard with their friends and the birding community there. They did a lot of research online to find a solution that would give them a higher-quality stream than their current bird cams and allow them not only to stream to their website foothillsbirds.com but to their YouTube Channel as well.
“Cameras from AXIS Communications paired with the CamStreamer App was the solution that most people recommended. Having the hardware and software integrated is a great feature,” says Ladell. They chose the AXIS P1455-LE Network Camera because it can stream in HDTV 1080p. The other main consideration was that it had to operate in extreme weather conditions, as it can be as cold as -40°C there. “Our biggest constraint in setting-up live streaming has always been the Internet connection. We are connected via 4G LTE cellular service but with limited data,” says Ladell.
Therefore, they aren’t able to run the stream 24/7. The solution was to use CamStreamer to schedule their live stream each day during the daylight hours to their YouTube Channel. The problem with that is the YouTube link for the live stream would change every day. “We also wanted the live stream to be embedded on our website. The CamStreamer app solved this. The CamStreamer App generates an „Embedded permanent player code“ for embedding to a web page and a „Permanent link,“ which is a URL address that can be used in a web browser (the permanent link still stays the same URL even if YouTube changes the URL of the stream). Both have worked great,” Ladell adds.
The solution further includes an AXIS T8351 Mk II Microphone for the better recording of bird sounds and the CamOverlay App for showing the weather in both Celsius and Fahrenheit and added overlay graphics for their birdseed sponsorship. “We also liked that the software cost is only a one-time payment - other streaming services usually charge monthly fees,” explains Kent Ladell.
“Since we have replaced our main camera with the AXIS/ CamStreamer solution, we have had a lot of positive feedback about the video quality. People also like that it is now on YouTube, not just on our website,” says Kent Ladell. Having a YouTube Channel has also increased their audience. “We have added an overlay for our birdseed sponsorship using the CamOverlay App,” adds. They will be looking at using some of the advanced graphics features in the future.