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AI bird capture innovation aims to spark our ornithological interests

Hummingbirds elicit such affection in bird enthusiasts and a new AI feature can capture them in motion.

Purple-throated carib feeding at a flower. Image by Charles J. Sharp, CC BY 3.0
Purple-throated carib feeding at a flower. Image by Charles J. Sharp, CC BY 3.0

The startup Bird Buddy has launched the world’s first AI-powered smart hummingbird feeder and smart bird bath. The company is making use of Kickstarter to market the innovation. To date the campaign has raised almost $2.5 million.

The basis of the different models is a built-in AI recognition tech and modular camera. The device instantly snaps and recognizes the species feeding at the unit. The company was founded by three innovators:  Ziga Vrtacic, Franci Zidar and Kyle Buzzard.

The company’s prototype was first exhibited at CES 2023. The feeder is designed to provide up close views of common hummingbird species in North America. The birds are captured with digital photos and videos.

In addition to hummingbirds, these feeders may also attract bees and butterflies. The technology was developed through dozens of beta testers, giving us real-time feedback and suggestions.

In terms of the technology, the feeder comes with or without a solar roof, using the same camera module with 5 megapixels and HD video, a 120° field of view and built-in microphone which allows existing users the option to swap their camera between feeders.

Commenting on the new products, Dejan Bjordan, Bird Buddy’s in-house Ornithologist states: “Hummingbirds elicit such affection in bird enthusiasts; their beautiful flash colors, rapid wing action and hovering tendencies means it’s really challenging to obtain high quality images, let alone identify their species.”

Hummingbirds have varied specialized characteristics, including an array of colourful plumages. The birds are capable of rapid, manoeuvrable flight. In addition, the birds have an exceptional metabolic capacity, the ability to adapt to high altitude, and possess sensitive visual and communication abilities.

To date, a total of 100 million photos and videos have been taken and the number of species identified to date is 472 (recognized by AI or manual review). Many of these images have accurately captured humming noise that occurs when they flap their wings very fast (averaging from 10 to 80 times per second).

Bjordan adds: “Our smart feeder has been specifically designed so that you can enjoy these delights from the ease of your smartphone or tablet wherever you are, much the same as our original feeder.”

Users have the opportunity to partake in a citizen science project based on the platform ‘Bird Buddy’s Heartbeat’. This provides real time sightings across its network with open source datasets available for scientists to use.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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