Technical and history

The birdnest was made of permapine, by high school students as a fundraiser, and given to me as a present (thanks Janice & Ian).

Eastern Rosellas successfully raised three young in it, prompting me to put a camera inside the nest.

The first camera was B&W, with a couple of infra-red LEDs in the top, so we could see the interior night and day. The camera was cabled to the garage, and a wireless link sent the video from there into the house, to be viewed on the TV or a computer.

After the camera was installed (2002), We didn't get any birds use the nest. The video went black, so I investigated. Black ants had put eggs inside the camera body, between the lens and the sensor! Obviously they appreciated the warmth in there. I cleaned them out and sprayed copiously with CRC226 and insect spray.

When an Adelaide Rosella raised one young, it seemed silly to have colourful birds in the nest and a B&W camera. So I went looking for a wireless colour camera. I tried a few wireless ones from Jaycar and Dick Smith. They were hopeless. So I bought another fixed camera similar in construction to the B&W one, 12V in, composite video and sound out. Sadly, it is not very good. Light sensitivity is poor, and it is insensitive to IR, so the LEDs are useless. I didn't then know that some colour cameras don't see IR. It is clear to me now, that quality colour video, especially at low light, requires an expensive camera. $150 isn't enough. And I don't understand why USB webcam style cameras are so cheap (as little as $11), and composite output cameras are so expensive, for similar resolution (around 640x480) and quality.

For the 2007 season, I noticed rosellas visiting the nestbox, looking inside interestedly, then leaving. So I pulled down the nest to see why, and give it a cleanout. Inside was debris from the previous tenant, and lots of ants.
I got rid of them, cleaned it out, widened the bottom (that Adelaide Rosella sure was cramped), and fitted a translucent plastic panel above the entrance hole to increase the light for the camera.
And I fastened it all together securely to eliminate a few of the cracks opening up in the permapine.
Success. An Eastern Rosella is nesting in there.

B&W camera and IR LEds on top of nestbox. Cover over camera.