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Postcards: Collecting Photos and Videos

Navigating the App

For a general introduction to the app and its main features and settings, see here.

After setting up your Bird Buddy, it might take some time before you get a notification or postcard. Don't worry; this is normal. Birds take time to warm up to new feeders, regardless of the appealing food. Their cautious nature might keep them at bay for days or even weeks, but they'll come around.


While the camera will make postcards by itself, you can also make your own with the Live feature.

Inbox and History Feed

When the camera module snaps a bird visit, you’ll receive a notification on your phone (unless you disable notifications in the app). In the Bird Buddy app itself, simply click on the mailbox icon () on the bottom navigation bar to get to your Inbox.


                                                   

 

Each postcard displays the bird(s) visiting your feeder, complete with all the images and, if available, videos from that session. To view all the footage within the same postcard, tap on the white arrow icon on the picture or video or simply swipe.

History Feed: To review all your past saved visitors, we've placed a 'History feed' icon () in the top right corner. Both saved and unsaved postcards will disappear from the main Inbox in 7 days, and the saved visits will be waiting for you there.

Other notifications: Non-postcard-related notifications can be accessed by clicking the bell icon ()

Saving the Photos and Videos to Your Collection

  • If you want to save all the content from a postcard to your Collection, tap on the 'Save All' button located just below the image and all the photos will be saved to their respective collection.
  • When you do, a pop-up will appear asking whether you want to share the postcard with the Bird Buddy community, you can choose 'Share to community' (see privacy note below) to make it public or 'Keep it private' to save it to your own collection only.

Editing and Sharing

  • If you don’t want to keep all of the images from a postcard or correct the species, tap the ‘Edit’ button to access the postcard editing flow (described below) where you can select the footage you want to save to the collection. 
  • Use the 'Share' button to send or share any photo with friends, family, or other bird enthusiasts through your favorite communication channel. Video sharing is not supported directly through the app for now (you can always download it to your phone and share it, though).

Discarding Postcards

  • To remove the entire postcard from your inbox, use the Discard button in the top right corner. This will delete the postcard for good, but you'll have a brief moment to change your mind and undo it.
  • Keep in mind that both saved and unsaved postcards will disappear from the main Inbox automatically after 7 days. 
  • For a neat history of all saved visits, the entries will remain in your History feed and also be sorted in your Collection.

Please note

    • The Postcard feature doesn’t work if the camera module is not placed into the feeder housing.
    • Postcards can't be created while you're checking your live stream (and you won't be able to enter the stream either if Bird Buddy is in the postcard-creating mode).
    • For the Postcards feature to work reliably, the module needs at least 12% battery.
    • If you want to take a break from receiving photos and videos, you can do so by switching on the “Go Off-Grid” option in the Feeder Settings.

Postcard creation process

The postcard feature is designed to bring you top-notch bird photos from your Bird Buddy. Here's how it works:

  1. Detection: A bird needs to be near the center of the perch to activate our laser motion detector. This ensures the bird is in a prime position for photos.

  2. Recording & AI Assessment: After the detector is activated, the Bird Buddy captures photos and videos. Next, our bird-recognizing model, powered by our very own artificial intelligence, takes over. This model carefully evaluates each image. It looks for clear, well-framed shots of birds and identifies their species. If all photos from a session are too blurry or not framed optimally (the bird is too close to the camera to get a nice short, for example), the AI model will discard these subpar photos.
                                         

This is why sometimes you can see the "taking postcards" status in the app, but you don't receive any postcards from that camera session.

         Taking_postcards_status.png
You can learn more about the postcard creation process in this article.

Postcard Tips

To ensure that our model has the finest bird photos from your Bird Buddy to choose from, consider these guidelines:

  1. Fill the Seed Tray to the Brim: Max out the seed tray. When there's ample seed, birds are likely to land in ideal positions for the motion sensor and camera.

  2. Adequate Lighting and Orientation: Poor lighting can compromise photo quality. If Bird Buddy is in a low-light spot, consider relocating it. Need tips to optimize image clarity? 
    → Check out our tips for optimal photo quality 📸🐦

  3. Bird Acclimatization: Birds can be wary of new objects. At first, they might briefly visit or avoid the feeder. Given time, they'll become more familiar and linger, allowing for better photos.

  4. Stay Updated: We're regularly refining our camera and the bird-detection AI. Always keep your camera updated with the latest firmware to capture the best images.
  5. Obstruction Issues: Birds might occasionally block the camera or, post-rain, mud may cloud the lens. Regularly clean the camera lens with a dry cloth to maintain clarity.

  6. Set Your Location: Our AI relies on your set location for better bird identification. Make sure it's accurate to improve photo results.

  7. Sensor Sensitivity with Updates: With the newest firmware, the motion sensor is finely tuned and might be highly sensitive. If you notice birds visiting but aren't getting postcards, check for potential disturbances. Items like fluttering leaves on a nearby tree branch or any constantly moving objects in the camera's view could interfere. Eliminating such distractions can enhance photo capture.

Your cherished bird moments are our top priority, and these suggestions will help you achieve just that!

Help

If you're not receiving any photos even though your Bird Buddy has been receiving regular visitors for many days in a row, please contact our support team.

Editing postcards

Click the "Edit" button under the postcard to keep only a selection of the footage and/or to correct the identification.

If the AI model identifies the bird(s) in the session, you'll be directed to the photo and video collection process. (If there's a recognition error, you may select "Wrong bird?” to navigate to the unrecognized bird procedure described later in this article.)

  1. First, keep or discard the video of the session (it can only belong to one species for now. Please note that not every session will produce a video).



2. Select the photos you’d like to keep by tapping them. The images you don't select will be discarded and can't be retrieved. You can also discard all images from a single postcard session by clicking "🗑️Discard all".

screenshot_2023-07-26_at_11.41.47.png

 

After this, you land on a recap screen where you see all the photos and videos you decide to keep. You now have two options:

  1. Save all selected media to private Collections only 🔒

  2. Save all selected media to private Collections & share them with the Community; this will make your pictures visible to other users in the Community part of the gallery and your videos visible for the Birdbuddy TV feature. You can't share media with the community after this point, so you have to make the decision here.

After selecting either saving option, you are redirected to the Collections section of the app.

Privacy note

You can remove the picture or video from being visible to the community if you originally chose option one: you just have to find it within your gallery folder and remove it from the app.

 

What happens if the model doesn't recognize the bird?

Option 1: Even though most visitors to your feeders will be recognized from the get-go, you will also encounter cases where the model isn't 100% sure who the visitor is.

In case the AI is not entirely sure about the species, you will first get asked to help it out yourself by selecting the correct bird for every picture from the session from a list of potential matches we provide.

You will notice that some suggestions have the spotted but not recognized tag: If the bird was recognized on one of the pictures in the session, it will give you the option to select it for the unrecognized images as well because it's very likely it's the same bird.


Option 2: If you don’t see the correct species on the list immediately, you can also tap the “None of the above” option to search manually through our database.

Option 3: You can also tag a photo as a Mystery visitor: this option lets you keep pictures here that aren't birds (or squirrels): maybe a cute dog, a deer, a mouse, or even a bird you wanna check in a book before re-classifying it later.

Option 4: You can also choose to ignore a particular image at this stage of the process already (this action discards the photo without having to identify it first, and you will move on to the next picture from the session).

Once you go through all the pictures in this bird-recognition flow, you will again encounter the photo-selection flow described above.

In the end, tap the “Save photos” button, and you will be taken to your Collections (for now, you cannot publish pictures unrecognized by AI to the community gallery.)

What happens if a squirrel or other animals visit Bird Buddy?

For now, our AI model can recognize squirrels, so you will see a squirrel recognition screen when the camera takes a photo of it.

After that, you have two options:

Option 1: Collect the photos/video (this lists the media in the Squirrel gallery in your Collections)

Option 2: Ignore this visitor (discards the footage)

If the camera sends you a photo of other critters (dogs, deer, raccoons, mice), you can either discard them or keep them as Mystery visitors.

 

 

 

 

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