Perhaps you’ve spent more time looking out your dining room window than usual this year. Perhaps you’re noticing the wildlife frequenting your neighborhood thanks to post-zoom walks or your child’s newfound love Explore the backyard.
The Bird Buddy project, which launched on Kickstarter this week, aims to lure you into a whole new world of bird watching mixed with a touch of Pokemon Go and a dash of conservation efforts. This smart bird feeder is designed to identify bird species by photo or audio and connects to a mobile app that collects each species in your personal collection.
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The bird feeder is a clear, fillable container that holds up to 3.8 cups of bird seed and weighs just over 2.5 pounds when full. It comes with a smart doorbell-like camera that promises 5MP photos and 720P live video with a 120-degree field of view. Connect the camera to your 2.4GHz WiFi network to receive mobile notifications every time it detects a visitor.
I have to catch them all… somehow
The Pokemon Go catchphrase kind of applies here. You don’t actually catch birds, but you capture their pictures to collect and organize them in a playful app. This data also contributes to an open-source platform that tracks bird migrations and populations to aid in conservation efforts.
Yes, this includes your location data. If you don’t want to share that kind of data, this bird feeder might not be for you. Knowing the location of my feeder helps conservationists track bird populations makes it a little easier to swallow, but I wouldn’t blame anyone for hesitating.
The artificial intelligence built into the Bird Buddy camera is said to recognize over 1,000 species of birds. A quick Google search reveals a fact from the American Museum of Natural History that suggests there may be 18,000 species around the world.
If your feathered friend didn’t get a clear selfie or video clip on camera, there’s still a chance the Bird Buddy can identify them. The camera’s microphone and AI are designed to identify birds by both song and photo. Once the bird is identified, unlock the badge of that species in the dedicated app.
Right now the super early bird price is $153 per bird feeder. Other accessories include a wall mount, fence mount or fat ball holder, each sold separately.
The Bird Buddy project is targeting a September 2021 delivery date to Kickstarter backers. You can learn more about the campaign on the Kickstarter page. As always, please note that CNET’s coverage of crowdfunding campaigns does not constitute an endorsement of the project or its creators. Before contributing to a campaign, read the policies of the crowdfunding site – in this case, Kickstarter – to find out your rights (and refund policies, or lack thereof) before and after a campaign ends.