When Ash Smith was growing up in Eastern North Carolina, he remembers how his father built bluebird houses and placed them around his White Lake home and all 18 holes of the golf course. His mother loves cardinals and tells him when she sees one it’s a message from a loved one.
He remembers the joy both of his parents got from seeing hummingbirds come to a feeder they placed outside the kitchen window. Smith still cherishes the little book on bird identification, along with some notes, that his father.
So when Smith saw an ad for a kickstarter project on a bird feeder called the Bird Buddy he knew he wanted to buy one, even if the price seemed a little high at the first time.
The Bird Buddy not only helps Smith feed the birds, but the bird feeder also takes pictures and videos of the feathered friends as they fly in to eat some food. According to the startup, its AI technology can identify more than 1,000 types of birds, allowing users to share through a mobile phone the types of birds they feed.
“I immediately thought of how happy my father, and my mother, would be to be able to see birds like this up close,” Smith said of the exchange. of email. “It was a bit expensive but just knowing I had to have one made me feel like I was sharing something with my parents though now both of them.”
In recent weeks, Smith began posting “paper cards,” as the company calls them, of his close-up photos and videos of Carolina chickadees, titmouses, Carolina wrens, and yes, cardinals on his Facebook page. to the delight of his friends. . Some told him they check every day just for a special time and nature..
“When the light is really good, you can see into the birds’ eyes and the details in their feathers. They almost sparkle in the feathers,” Smith said. “The video is really amazing.”
Bird Buddy began shipping its bird feeders in September and reports that all 100,000 in its inventory have been sold. The standard pet costs $199, although Smith’s costs an extra $50 because it comes with a built-in solar charger.
Smith has worked as an attorney for the city of Gastonia for more than 27 years, and has been the city attorney since 2002, providing legal advice to the City Council and city representatives from his City Hall office. He lives in the aptly named Eagles Walk neighborhood near the intersection of Union and Beatty Roads, not far from Forestview High School.
After watching Smith’s popular bird videos and photos, The Gazette Smith was asked some questions about his Bird Buddy, which he graciously answered.
What is your role in implementation?
I buy organic seed mixes that include sunflower seeds and supplement as needed. I will try the dried mealworms nearby to see if I can attract the bluebirds, which have not visited much to my chagrin. You will occasionally receive a message from the app telling you to update the software. You should unplug the camera from the charger, plug it into a charging cable, and then leave it undisturbed for about 30 minutes when after that close the app and ask it to update. It is also important to wash and clean the feeder from time to time to prevent the birds from spreading diseases to each other.
Have you fed your favorite animal?
You must download the Bird Buddy app to use the feed. You use the app to watch photos and videos, although you can actually download them to your phone or computer. The app will automatically identify the bird for you although not always correctly. You can touch on the image and it will tell you the species, show you a map of their location in North America, and other facts. It definitely taught me about species I was not familiar with (Dark-eyed Junco, anyone?) and inspired me to go to Wikipedia to read more about species I was not familiar with.
Are there any surprises?
As mentioned, I have not found a blue bird and I really want it. I have so many pictures and videos of cardinals now that they are almost too much. I really think that Mr. and Mrs. cardinal come every day now and they are eating it down. There are also many small animals. Brown-headed birds are evil! They will fight each other to feed and of course the other species will run away.
Why is it a social emotion?
I thought there would be a lot of fun but the truth is that it really hit a lot of people. It’s so cool to be an “early adopter” and see all the responses from my Facebook friends. I have many people who say they check every day now for the videos.
Things to know before buying?
You will definitely need to have a phone to download the Bird Buddy app and a Wi-Fi connection and connect it to the area of your yard where you will place the Bird Buddy.
I have seen many knockers of other companies and I can’t speak if they are better or worse than Bird Buddy but I had one Facebook friend who bought a knocker and later I heard that he can’t take it. picture.
There seems to be a waiting list right now for the Bird Buddy feeder and it may take several months for you to get one. Again, be patient when you get one because it takes a few weeks to start posting pictures.
Difficult to install?
Out of the box, it’s really not that hard. I think the part where you plug the camera into the cable to the solar charger is a bit tight. I took a few weeks to put the feeder in a spot in my backyard that had direct sunlight long enough to grow. It is working fine now.
last shot animal
I’ve been called an animal brain before and I guess the deal is now sealed!
You can reach Kevin Ellis at 704-201-7016 or by email at Kellis@GastonGazette.com.