Michigan Woman Sets Up Homemade ‘Feeder Cam’ to Capture Close-Ups of Birds in Yard

By Louise Bevan
Louise Bevan
Louise Bevan
Louise Bevan is a writer, born and raised in London, England. She covers inspiring news and human interest stories.
October 2, 2021 Updated: October 2, 2021

A German native who moved to Michigan was so taken with the local bird life that she installed a camera at the bird feeder in her yard. She soon amassed volumes of incredible photos, showcasing an insider view into the worlds of her feathered friends.

Macomb County resident Lisa, 43, goes by “Ostdrossel” on social media. A translator and subtitler by trade and, until lately, “never much of a birdwatcher,” she started experimenting with a DSLR when she grasped the diversity of birds around her new environs.

“I think the first birds that I noticed here were blue jays, goldfinches, house finches, and cardinals,” Lisa told The Epoch Times. “All of them are rather vibrant in a way that you don’t really see in nature in Germany. It surprised me, because they looked like something from the zoo at first, but they were everywhere.”

Underwhelmed by the results of her DSLR, she looked for way to get closer and ended up building her own “feeder cam,” mounting an action camera in a housing structure which held a feeder cup. Hooked to motion detection, or time lapse, the camera can capture up to 20,000 shots a day.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Ostdrossel)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Ostdrossel)

Lisa entices a host of visitors with various nuts, seeds, jams, and their very favorite fare: mealworms.

“I have to go through a lot at the end of the day to see which [photos] are worthy to be shown,” she said. “Then I edit them a bit, crop them, and adjust brightness. I add my watermarks and then post them.”

The burgeoning bird lover, who has also invested in a Birdsy Cam for video and livestreaming, shares her favorite snaps as Ostdrossel on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, TikTok, YouTube, and on her website, ostdrossel.com, where she also sells merchandise.

(Courtesy of Ostdrossel)

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Ostdrossel)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Ostdrossel)

Lisa said the birds’ feather patterns, colors, and behaviors inspire her the most, explaining, “They can be hilarious, but also look concerned or curious. I feel like I get to see sides of them that I would otherwise not see.

“Some are baby birds that I have seen grow up via nest box camera,” she continued. “And it is very special to see them up close when they finally come to feed.”

The response she has received has been positive, and that motivates her to continue, said Lisa, adding, “I notice that often, the photos and videos present an opportunity to educate a bit about nature or aspects of nature, and everything also helps people relax.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Ostdrossel)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Ostdrossel)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Ostdrossel)

She also adores hummingbirds, a species she once thought only lived in tropical climes, and can spend hours watching them zip around her yard. But her favorite birds are bluebirds, for their sweet song and the way they “talk” with their wings.

In fact, her birding handle “Ostdrossel” was originally an automated translation when she looked up the German term for “eastern bluebird.” It is not a real word, she explained, but she liked the look and sound of it.

Honorable mentions go to grackles, grosbeaks, woodpeckers, blue jays, nuthatches, cardinals, orioles, catbirds, robins, doves, and owls. “Really, most of the birds I get in my yard,” Lisa said. She has even caught foxes, rabbits, skunks, raccoons, squirrels, and a piglet on camera, under cover of darkness.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Ostdrossel)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Ostdrossel)

The venture has taught her many facts about the bird world. Mourning doves, she said, can be “quite aggressive with one another,” while starlings can get crazy, and it “looks like a big fight” when five of them come to the same bowl.

In spring, she puts out a small bowl containing mud and grasses, and delights in watching robins use it for building materials for their nests. An ongoing livestream of the birdbath provides constant hilarity and amusement.

She hopes her project inspires others to enjoy, appreciate, and protect our feathered friends. “Keep your feeders and birdbaths clean,” she advises. “And help protect the beauty of the nature around you.”

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Louise Bevan
Louise Bevan is a writer, born and raised in London, England. She covers inspiring news and human interest stories.