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Who Can Resist Sneaking a Peak?
Humans have never been able to live among animals and observe them without interfering – until now. Breakthroughs in camera and robot technology have combined to give homo sapiens a front row seat in the animal kingdom.
Spy In the Wild, Nature Mini-series
Spy in the Wild is a five-part Nature mini-series which places robotic replicas of wild animals and birds in the midst of their ‘packs’ in their natural settings. The ‘spy-critters’ have video camera eyes and they move like the animals they mimic – including the submissive behavior which gets them accepted by the real animals. Among the featured Spy Creatures are: Spy Orangutan, Spy Croc Hatchling, Spy Meerkat, Spy Egret, Spy Tortoise, Spy Prairie Dog, Spy Macaw, Spy Sloth, Spy Cobra, Spy Bushbaby, Spy Squirrel, Spy Adelie, and Spy Baby Hippo.
The result is a front row seat in the animal world for all of us. The resulting Nature mini-series is touching, amazing, frightening and poignant. I find it riveting and unforgettable.To watch A Spy In The Wild, you can:
- Watch full episodes on your computer.
- Record them on your DVR from your PBS station.
- Order the DVD of the first two shows in the series for $19.99.
National Geographic CritterCams
National Geographic has attached video cameras to wild creatures and they take us into the world of sperm whales, coyotes, and even kittens.
CritterCams in your own backyard
There are a range of motion activated, weatherproof cameras which you can set up in your yard to watch the critters who live outside. Most require batteries (you’ll need to change them) and an SD card which stores the images. Most can be set to take still photos and short videos and have night vision. Some are made for hunters and have a ‘camo’ coloring.
NEST (yes, like the thermostats) offers an outdoor security camera which is motion activated and has night vision. There is downloadable app which allows you to view images from the camera in real time. It must be plugged into an outlet, which I view as a benefit since it eliminates the need to replace batteries (25’ cord comes with the camera). There is a one-month free trial during which the captured video will be stored in the cloud and can be retrieved by you. After that, you can still watch ‘real-time, but to review videos you will need to subscribe to Nest Aware – you will want to do this. For $100/year Nest will store the past ten days of video history. You pay more for extended storage, but for a critter cam you probably don’t need it.
Birdhouses with built-in spy cameras
This Small Birdhouse includes a built-in Nature Spy Camera, 100 foot detachable AV/electrical cable, 11.46 x 5.12 x 7.68 inches for $130.
This Birdhouse HD Spy Camera is just the color video camera, with infrared night vision, and microphone – you can place it in your birdhouse. 1 x 1 x 1 inches for $97.42. It has a built-in microphone and a 100ft (audio-, video-in) power cable, extensions are available. Animals and birds do not see the infrared lights. You can run a wire inside the house to a TV or computer.
See this ASE for our favorite Stylish Birdhouses. You can add a birdhouse spy camera to most of these.