Leveraging time lapse photography

Leveraging time lapse photography

I’ve written previously about the benefits you can gain from using remote cameras with your birds. Most smart phones can also do time lapse photography.

While videos can capture useful information about your birds, sometimes you want to monitor behaviors that happen rarely or you want to see how often they happen over time.

Some examples of behaviors might be:

  • How often and for how long are my birds eating?
  • Are my birds eating specific foods I’m putting out for them?
  • How active are my birds?
  • What toys and perches are my birds favoring?
  • Are my birds fighting?
  • Are my birds engaging in mating behavior?
  • What toys are my birds playing with?

Sure, a video would capture these, but this is a significant time commitment to review these videos.


Before I get started, I wanted to recommend a tripod I like. Since you could take a time lapse that could last hours, you want a way to hold your phone in position. You also want to plug it in if you plan on taking a video lasting many hours.

There are cheaper tripods, but if you want to get serious about shooting with your smartphone, you’ll appreciate this tripod that holds your phone nicely and is easy to position.


Here are a few examples of videos I’ve taken.

This one is pretty simple and just shows that the newly introduced female and the two existing males are playing together without incident. I can also see them exploring the table and spending some time playing with all but one of the toys.

Here I learn quite a lot. I see cockatiels, bourke’s parrots, a splendid parrot, and a rosella all getting along reasonably well, probably because there are multiple food dishes. I see that they are not touching fruit or vegetables but this is not a particularly long video so I later learned which birds like which types of food.

Here I learned that one of the birds (the pied) was quite frequently being kicked out of the foraging bowl. After seeing this video, I invested in a larger foraging bowl and this helped cut down a lot on the squabbling.

This video shows a bird that was ill and losing weight and I wanted to see what she was eating and for how long. In this one hour long time lapse, I learned that she ate both seed and fresh food and also ate for basically the entire hour. A very good sign.

I have an outdoor aviary with 19 birds and 6 species. My own observations have found which ones eat vegetables and which eat fruit. Some eat both. The Rosella I’ve not seen eat either, but he’s also the most skittish bird out there.

In the future I plan to set up a camera near the fruit and vegetable area of the aviary and see which birds are eating which types of food. This could help determine whether to change the mix of foods or perhaps try new foods if there are birds eating no fresh food at all.

I’m a huge proponent of using photography to determine the health of birds.