Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a list of our most frequently asked questions which will hopefully provide a quick answer to your query.
     

When is the latest time to put up a nest box in the season?

Garden birds generally start breeding around mid February, ideally you should have put a nest box in place by the end of Feb beginning of March. This said, we have known bird boxes to be put up in April that have had successful results.

If you are concerned about making a purchase and not getting a nesting bird, why not buy one of our 2 in 1 Bird Box and Feeder Systems, this way you will get full use of your camera all year round! 

 

When and how do I clean out the nest box ?

The nests of most birds harbour fleas and other parasites, these can remain to infest young birds that hatch the following year. We recommend that old nests be removed from August onwards or once you are certain the birds have stopped using the box.

Use boiling water to kill any remaining parasites, and let the box dry out thoroughly before replacing the front or top panels. Insecticides and flea powders must not be used.

Should I use a Wired or Wireless Nest Box Camera System ?

Wired camera vs Wireless camera kit
We offer both wired and wireless systems for all nestbox cams and most of our wildlife camera kits:

For Hard Wired Camera Systems we do not recommend cable runs to go further than 70 meters otherwise a voltage drop may affect the camera performance and over the longer term cause damage. We can manage much longer runs using Cat5e Cable up to about 150 meters but this would be a bespoke product to be quoted.
worth noting that Video, Audio and Power all run down one single cable so there is no need for power outdoors.

Our Digital Wireless Camera Systems are manufactured specifically for Gardenature. These kits are digital and probably the most advanced in our market place offering a 120 meter (line of sight) range in their standard format, but with larger antenna (additional cost) we can offer 250 meters. The Transmitter and Receiver are both waterproof and each have a 1 meter of cable for connection to camera / TV monitor etc. The transmitter is connected to the camera and a 10 meter 12vDC power line needs to connect to a 240v supply ideally in a garage or shed etc, for powering the camera and TX. As a rule of thumb, the TX - RX distance will be reduced by 25 meters for every wall it travels through. If there are a number of objects in the 'line of sight' please call us to discuss any potential for transmission issues.

There are eggs that have not hatched or some chicks have died, is this normal ?

It is quite normal for a few eggs to fail to hatch, or for some young to die. Blue and great tits lay up to 14 eggs to allow for such losses. Cold weather and food shortage may lead to nest desertion, or to only the strongest young surviving. The death of one parent or interference from animals or humans may also cause desertion. Legally, if there are unhatched eggs in a nest box these can only be removed between August and January 

 

What species of bird are likely to be attracted to my nest box ?

This really depends on a number of factors including entrance hole size, internal nest box size, height above ground level etc. Gardenature nest boxes are designed following RSPB and BTO recommendations. We use a minimum of 18 mm thick timber sourced from well managed forests.
Gardenature nest boxes are fitted with a 32mm entrance hole as standard, this will attract the widest range of garden birds including Blue Tits, Marsh Tits, Coal Tits, Great Tits, House Sparrows, and where the centre panel is removable (open fronted) Nuthatches, Robins, Wrens and more! Some guidelines suggest a 25 mm hole is required for Blue Tits. In reality we've found that this is very tight and as we want to maximise the chances of birds using the nest box we always use a 32mm hole. This will not deter the Blue Tits from nesting but we also supply metal hole plates in 32 and 28mm should you wish to reduce.

What are Gardenature nest boxes made of ?

Gardenature nest boxes are manufactured from PEFC regulated Western Red Cedar which proves to be most hardy against UK weather conditions. We have FSC Chain of Custody certification which means that we are independently inspected to ensure our manufacturing procedures for resourcing wood are traceable. We also make the RSPB own branded Pine nest box camera systems which are also FSC certified. 
 

How do I position my nest box ?

There are a number of guidelines you can follow to help maximise your chances of birds using a nest box.

It is highly recommended that you face the nest box between North and East. What is important is that you do not face the hole towards the prevailing wind as this will almost certainly mean that rain will get into the box in wet and windy weather. Try to avoid placing a nest box where there will be prolonged exposure to sunlight as overheating inside the box can sometimes result in heat stress to the chicks.

Placing a nest box in close proximity to a feeding device or feeding station may well put off birds from nesting in the box. Most nesting birds are highly territorial and do not like intruders on their territory. Either remove feeders just before and during the breeding season or place the nest box well away from the feeding station.

Make sure that the birds have a clear flight path to the nest box without any clutter directly in front of the entrance. Tilt the box forward slightly so that any driving rain will hit the roof and bounce clear.

To attract Blue Tits, Great Tits etc, ideally your nest box should be fixed two to five metres up a tree or wall to prevent predators such as cats reaching them.
Open-fronted boxes for robins and wrens need to be low down, below 2m, well hidden in vegetation. Those for spotted flycatchers need to be 2-4m high, sheltered by vegetation but with a clear outlook. Woodpecker boxes need to be 3-5m high on a tree trunk with a clear flight path and away from disturbance.

There are several methods for attaching your nest box to a tree. If using a nail try to make sure it is an aluminium one as this will cause the least damage to the tree and pose less of a hazard at a later date if the tree is cut down or trimmed using a chainsaw. Alternatively boxes can be attached with garden wire around the trunk or branch. Holes can be drilled on either side of the bird box roof to help do this. Use a piece of garden hose or similar around the wire to prevent damage to the tree.

 

Can I use a battery to run a gardenature wireless kit outdoors ?

Yes, although its not ideal, batteries can run flat very quickly especially in cold weather. Our wireless kits use around 600mA 12v DC so if you have to use a battery go for a deep cycle leisure battery (as used in caravaning) and NOT a car battery, leisure batteries are designed for deep discharge and recharge and should last longer. We also sell Digital Timers that can regulate the viewing times on/off periods, conserving the battery when not required. 
If the area is remote and no power is available, we recommend one of our Solar Power kits for consideration.
 
 

I have connected my camera up, I have sound but no image ?

Have you left the lens cap on? Make sure all connections are firmly plugged in / are firmly together (yellow video, white audio) in the nest box and at the TV. If you have used our TV Scart adaptor, make sure it is firmly connected to your TV input. If you are using a USB stick in a PC ensure the video is set to 'Composite video'

I live outside the UK, do your cameras work in my Country ?

Our cameras use the PAL television standard. Our cameras will operate on TVs used in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Iceland, Poland, Portugal and Spain.

Also in Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Ascension Island, Australia, Azores, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Canary Islands, Cape Verde, China (mainland), Christmas Island, Cook Island, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dubai, Easter Island, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Finland, Gambia, Gaza & West Bank, Ghana, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao, Macedonia, Madeira, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norfolk Island, North Korea, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Tristan da Cunha, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu, Vatican City, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe. 

Please note that this list may be out of date or incorrect, please check that your television uses the PAL standard. For more information about the PAL standard Click here.

 

Can I connect gardenature camera system to a PC or MAC

Yes you can, we recommend using one of our Video to USB Adaptors. All you need is a spare USB 2.0 input so it's perfect for use with laptops too. 


Are Gardenature Camera kits easy to set up and use ?

Yes they are, we pre-assemble and test every component before it leaves our UK workshop. We provide clear, easy to follow instructions with each kit and we are always available during office hours, should you require any further advice just eMail or call us.

 

Can I adjust the focus on my nest box camera lens?

Yes. The focus can be adjusted by loosening the tiny grub screw just a half turn on the barrel of the lens, then twist the lens a few millimeters one way or the other.
Our Camera kits are set up and tested prior to dispatch. Cameras mounted in nest boxes are set to be focused approximately 60mm from the base of the nest box to allow for nesting material etc.

 

How does the camera give colour images inside a dark nest box?

To maximise the chances of birds nesting we use natural daylight to illuminate the inside of our nest boxes. Gardenature camera ready nest boxes have a window cut into each side wall or roof. The opaque Perspex window allows just enough natural daylight to enter the box to work precisely with the infrared switching sensor on our cameras to provide colour images by day and black & white at night. This in no way disturbs the birds as light levels rise and fall exactly as they would see through the entrance hole, Infrared is invisible to the eye.
Gardenature were the first company to use small windows in nest boxes which has now been adopted by most of the industry.

There are kits available that use artificial lighting to illuminate the inside of the nest box (torch bulbs or LED's). There are concerns as to whether this disturbs nesting birds and therefore we do not offer this illumination type of design.

 

Can I move my camera between nest boxes ?

Yes you can. All Gardenature camera nest box systems have quick release camera brackets incorporated into them so you could easily have two or more nest boxes and a feeder cam set up in your garden and move your camera kit between seasons. It is illegal to disturb nesting birds, do not move cameras into inhabited live nesting boxes.

 

I have connected my camera cable to the TV but it isn't on the screen, whats wrong ?

When you connect the camera to your TV either through the Scart or the Video /Audio (yellow and white) phono plugs you are going into an Auxiliary AV input. This means that you have to select an AV or AUX channel on your TV menu to view the camera, it will not be on any of your normal TV channels.

The other thing to consider of course is that you have plugged the nestbox camera (Power supply Unit) into the mains and switched it on.

 

Should I paint my nest box to protect it ?

Gardenature bird boxes are hand made from Western Red Cedar which is sourced from well managed forests. This wood has its own natural oils which provides sufficient protection against the wood rotting. If you wish to coat the box you may do so on the outside only but you must use a non toxic water based preservative, this may help to give the box more durability.

 

How do I get the cable into my house ?

To make this answer really easy we have provided a video for you to watch on our 'Advice' page. Or just click here - Getting the Cable through a Wall
Please DO NOT shut your camera in a window or door, this will break the cable down inside.

 

I want to buy as a Christmas present, do you extend the returns policy and warranty ?

Yes of course! If you purchase in Nov / December and an item is an unwanted Xmas gift, you have upto 14th January to return it to us for refund or exchange. All gardenature cameras have a 2 year warranty.

 

Wireless Systems, why do they cost so much more ?

Gardenature Wireless Systems are Digital not Analogue. We use the very latest in digital technology to ensure that your purchase delivers you a solid video/audio signal (without any interference) over much longer distances, even our standard kit will transmit upto 120 meters. Digital systems are more expensive than analogue but the quality is far superior. We choose not to offer analogue as a cheaper alternative because it is an out dated solution that is plagued with problems, most commonly conflicting with wireless broadband. Digital utilizes auto channel hopping, so if another transmission is detected on its same frequency, it will switch to another channel resulting in 100% image clarity at all times.

Why does a wireless system still have to have a wire ?

Any wireless kit requires a power source to run the camera and transmitter. As it is illegal to disturb nesting birds it is not practical to fit batteries into the actual nest box so there will always be a requirement for a cable to come from the nest box/camera to a convenient power source. Our wireless kits use 12vDC and are supplied with a 12v mains power adaptor (which looks very similar to a mobile phone charger) and 10 meter DC power cable. The adaptor needs to be plugged into a mains power socket typically situated in a shed or garage. However, the kit can also be powered by a 12v leisure battery (as used in caravaning and camping) if you require (not supplied). Solar panel kits are also available.

 

My nest box camera is showing a Black & White image during the day, why ?

If you purchased a colour camera but have a black & white image this is most likely caused by the infrared becoming active. This will happen if the camera is in a poor/low light position. If you are testing the equipment indoors, take the nestbox outside into natural daylight and it should switch back to colour. When positioning your bird box, it is important that the opaque window/s on the nestbox are kept reasonably clear from foliage to allow daylight through to the nesting chamber. Colour cameras have an Infrared Sensor which turns on the IR LED's in low light, if you put a camera in a box that has no natural light (such as a hedgehog box) the Infrared image will be in black & white.

Do I have to take the camera out of the nest box when not in use ?

If you are leaving a camera in a nest box during cold spells it should be left switched on at the mains 24/7 so it generates its own heat to avoid freezing the camera components. If the camera is not going to be in use for long periods of time, remove and store in a dry place, re-fit when required.

What Devices can I connect my camera to?


TV / Monitor
  • RCA Phono inputs (standard)
  • Scart (adaptor included)
  • HDMI. 720 / 1080p. Convertor available at additional cost when you add to basket.

DVR
  • RCA Phono inputs (standard)
  • Scart (adaptor included)
  • HDMI. 720 / 1080p. Convertor available at additional cost when you add to basket.
  • BNC adaptor, available at additional cost. 

PC/MAC
  • Video-USB Adaptor, available at additional cost when you add to basket.
  • Video Encoder, available at additional cost.
  • Motion detecting and recording software, available at additional cost. (PC only)

Ethernet / Router
  • POE Injector, available at additional cost when you add to basket.

iPad / Smartphone etc 
  • Motion detecting and recording software with App download, available at additional cost. (PC only)
  • DVR with App download
  • Slingbox,  available at additional cost.