discussion / Camera Traps  / 11 January 2023

Time-lapse cameras for monitoring nesting birds in the Arctic

Hi all,

I'm a biologist at Arctic NWR and have been using time-lapse cameras for about a decade now to monitor nesting birds. We have used Plotwatcher Pros and Brinno TLC200s with a fair amount of success, but both are now no longer sold. I'm wondering if anyone out there knows of a good commercial solution for time-lapse photography of nests in the arctic (ie no need for flash since the sun never sets) or if anyone has built their own time-lapse camera and would be willing to share what worked for them. I need something that has super low power consumption (I'd like to get ~ 500K images with 4 lithium aa batteries which is what we get with the Plotwatchers), is fairly low cost (we put out hundreds of cameras across projects), and is small (tiny is better).

Thanks much!


Not sure how responsive this is, but just for fun I checked the number of photos that a Browning Elite HP5 trail camera gets from 8 lithium metal aa batteries in timelapse mode.  I think It's only about 40K -- a factor of ~20 less than your current solution.  It might be possible to increase this by reducing photo resolution, but I'm willing to bet that's less than a factor of 2.  Bummer.  

Alasdair Davies
Arribada Initiative
Director at Arribada, a UK-based conservation technology research & development organisation
WILDLABS Event Speaker
WILDLABS Research Participant

Hi Chris, 

We developed a time-lapse camera for Penguin Watch that ran for 3 years straight in Antarctica, so should be able to survive in the Arctic. With your Plotwatcher did you use any supplementary solar (we do in the summer months). If not, we're aiming to upgrade the camera and introduce a lower power camera module this year, which should get you the 500k images on 4 x AA 1.5v batteries, but we're a number of months away from that build so couldn't help you right away. It would be good to keep in touch to see where you get and we can help you downstream. 

More on the current camera here;