Almost two years ago, LIYB posted an article talking about the much ordered, not yet delivered high-tech bird feeder called the Bird Buddy. At the time of the post, the product had been much ordered, but not yet shipped to customers. Essentially, a slam dunk Kickstarter campaign had garnered a lot of enthusiasm and many consumers placed faith, and orders, with a company that had yet to offer a fully produced version of their design. Today, the Bird Buddy is available to purchase and will be shipped within days of the order.
So, how did this all pan out? Was all the hype for the Bird Buddy feeder really worth it? And can you trust those reviews on the website. Let’s get into it.
What is the Bird Buddy Bird Feeder?
Before we start, let’s take a step back to remember what the product is all about.
Imagine you combine the simplicity of a bird feeder with the modern appeal and technology given to the Ring camera security system. If you’re envisioning a bird feeder with a motion sensor camera attached that you can view from your phone, then congrats, you’ve painted an accurate mental picture of the Bird Buddy Feeder.
The Bird Buddy is built around the idea that bird watching should be easy, fun, and accessible from anywhere. By attaching a high resolution camera to a sleek, modern bird feeder design, their team is envisioning a world where incredible birding photos can be taken completely remote. Whether you want to snap a picture of a seldom seen Cardinal while you’re on a beach vacation or, as the Kickstarter video suggests, capture candids of your feathered friends while on the toilet, the power is in your hands.
The Bird Buddy has functionality that calls back to the now-popular remote doorbell security cameras such as Ring. A motion sensor begins recording when movement, in this case a perching bird, is detected. At the same time, you are sent a notification to your mobile device to view the activity.
Once your feed is open, you can snap live pictures of the birds you see, save them, and send through to family and friends.
Positives Based on Reviews
That said, here’s what we like about the actual product, based on reviews:
- Sleek, modern design.
- Simple and user-friendly concept.
- Functional accessories ie. Attachable solar roof panel, and wall mounts.
- Easy birding identification.
Negatives Based on Reviews
Short Battery Life
One of the most common customer complaints has been in regards to the battery life. Of course, this bird feeder is wireless. This is great for placing around your yard, but presents problems with regard to keeping it charged. The company proposed a solution for this by incorporating a solar roof panel. Some consumers say this helps. Others say that angling the roof “just-so” has been difficult to master. On average, many customers explain that their battery charges last around three days before they need to plug in.
Weak WIFI Range
The Bird Buddy is yet another device that runs with WIFI. This means when a bird lands, and a photograph is taken, the picture is sent to your smart phone. The wireless set up is meant to make placement versatile, but when you need to keep the device within range of your home, this drastically reduces your options. If you have heavy bird traffic at a tree line a distance from your home, then stretching the wireless connection that far might be a problem. Still, if you are willing to mount your feeder within range, then this complication could be overlooked.
Birds are picky sometimes. They don’t want to land on just anything. Some customers report that perching birds are hesitant to land on the flat Bird Buddy platform. Other feeders, fit with small branchlike arms, do a better job encouraging perching birds to land. If variety is your aim, you may have better luck attracting birds to your yard with a different style of feeder.
Not Squirrel Proof
Okay, okay–what bird feeder is actually squirrel proof? Still, when you have a product that takes a picture every time it senses movement, you face certain challenges. The targeted movement here comes from birds. Unless, that is, it comes from squirrels. Predictably, many customers complain that their photo feed is full of headshots of their backyard squirrel population. The software currently can not distinguish between the two animals, causing frustration and some disappointment. Hopefully software developments will fix this issue later on down the road.
Spotty Customer Service
Finally, we couldn’t wrap this article without talking about customer service. While we have not personally reached out to Bird Buddy customer service, many customers with product issues have. From charging concerns, to broken equipment, customers cite poor customer service as the reason they do not recommend the product to other birders.
Every product has its ups and downs. The long awaited Bird Buddy smart feeder is an appealing choice for enthusiastic birders looking to get up close and personal with birds in their own backyards. Sleek design, durable waterproof material, user-friendly software, and bird identification software make this product stand out. However, after waiting a year for orders to ship after the Kickstarter campaign wrapped, many customers are starting to discuss their perceived issues with the feeder.
Personally, we think it’s worth a go. Despite current issues, bugs are likely to be worked out as the company matures. That said, you can always wait until those improvements are made.