Category Archives: Bird Box

Raspberry Pi based bird box

First statistics from Bird Box

Update: move on to the most current statistcs, here

After two weeks of operation, its time to post a first statistical review of the detected visits in the Bird Box. Right after the bird box was installed a Great Tit discovered the house.

Beginning on April 3rd both birds visited the bird box 720 times until April 18 which is an average of 45 visits per day.

Visits per day

Let us at first check, how many visits where detected each day. You may click on the image to get a more detailed view on the data. The maximum of 136 visits where counted on Wednesday, April 15.

 Visits per hour

The following diagram shows the activity in the bird box depending on the time of day. Each set represents the average activity per day detected in one hour. As you can see the birds are more active until noon. By the way, the bird box has it’s front looking to the west.

Continue reading First statistics from Bird Box

Raspberry Pi Birdbox


The hardware is quite simple. At first here is a list of all you need

[table id=1 /]

Luckily you will be able to use the most expensive parts (no. 1-5) from above again for quite a lot of other exciting projects.

Power supply

Let us begin with the  power supply. To use longer cables to the bird box it’s a good idea to use a higher voltage (7-12V, e.g.) for the long cable and transfer that voltage to 5V in the bird box.

Initially I tried a 7805 voltage regulator but that became quite hot. Because of that a switching mode power supply is the better choice. I were lucky to find them at our local electronics super market for about 7 euros. One week later they were sold for 11… The one I found is an USB adapter which can be used in a car’s cigarette lighter connector. If you have enough place in your bird box you might even use it’s USB plug and connect the Raspberry Pi via it’s Micro USB connector. My bird box does not have that much place in it so I had to solder two connectors to the power supply and connect it to the PiFace. Bear in mind that you skip the Raspberry’s fuse by that.

IR Light Beam

To detect a bird coming into the bird box a IR light beam is used. There is a good IC (Sharp IS471 f) that controls an IR led on it’s own and detects the light beam or in our case if the light beam is broken.

LIght beam circuit for the bird box
LIght beam circuit for the bird box

Place the sensor on one side of the bird box’s hole and the LED on the other side. If you like connect it to the PiFace’s output 7 if you want to be able to disable the light beam. It’s not a need but it might be a good idea to disable the light beam while taking a photo. But you may as well connect it (pin 3) to the ground directly.

Photo Light

The light which falls though the hole is quite a lot, but its better to have some additional lights in the house. I will give it a try with three IR LEDs which will be enabled while taking a photo.

IR Photo Light
IR Photo Light

In my first draft I planned to use ten LEDs, but that’s too much for my new small house, so let’s hope that the sun is always shining or take some more LEDs if you have the place for them. If you use more of them, it might be a good idea to place them in series. But keep in mind that you’ll need a different resistor then. If you place more LEDs in parallel you’ll need to check the resistors power dissipation.


Further reading

Sharp IS 471