American Birding Podcast



Night Moves

It is nice to see a pair of Barn Owls back for another season using a box I put up a few years ago in a friend's barn not too far from home.  I featured these barn owls in an earlier post, with still Infrared (IR) photos taken with a Reconyx Hyperfire HC500 trail camera.  I still really like that camera but wanted to try IR video, so over the winter I got a pair of Bushnell TrophyCam HD trail cameras, which can get non-disruptive video and sound recordings in addition to still photos.  So far I'm pretty happy with the results, and I'm excited to keep the video trail cam experimentation going through this spring.  My quick impressions of the TrophyCam HD vs. the HC500 so far:


  • Price is pretty good, at about $200 a pop you can get two of these with some nice accessories like steel security enclosures for the price of a single Reconyx.
  • The video capability is a pretty cool deal, most excellent to see critters doing their thing at night and the sound recording adds a neat dimension.


  • The Infrared illumination can be a bit harsh, overexposing close subjects in the center of the frame.  You can select a low-power LED setting to help but I'm currently trying to block out a few of the LEDs with tape to see if this situation improves.  
  • The shutter trigger time is definitely slower than the Reconyx (not a surprise based on Trailcam Pro's testing data indicating 0.197 second trigger time for the HC500 vs. 0.596 second for the TrophyCam HD.)  For active birds such as Barn Owls flying into the box, even the Reconyx misses some shots but the TrophyCam misses many more.

Anyway, here's a test video put together from the owly barn:


And here's a bonus video using the Bushnell TrophyCam HD, shot near the barn next to Boulder Creek.  This one's mainly a mammal feature (watch for 5 different furry species) but there's at least one heard-only bird species to keep in pace with the theme of this blog…