My Great Outdoors: Peter's "The Owls Are Not What They Seem" Security System

My Great Outdoors: Peter's "The Owls Are Not What They Seem" Security System

Gregory Han
Jun 10, 2009

Name: Peter Treadway

Location: Whittier, CA

Type of space: Front, side and backyard

Tell us about your outdoor project and how you enjoy it: This was a project that was designed to keep the neighborhood honest.  One of the neighbors had broken some of our sprinklers that had gotten his car wet. Diplomacy was the first order of business- we went over to iron out the tension.  Then we set up some cameras to keep an eye on things.  The cameras have turned out to be a good way to be more aware of our surroundings.  We are able to anticipate events such as Fedex deliveries and careless dog walkers.  Coupled with a nice semiautomatic shotgun, this has turned out to be a very effective way to establish peace and trust on the block. 

This camera system is able to see in the dark so we can pick up a lot of things that would ordinarily be missed by constant paranoid glances through thinly curtained windows. By setting up the monitor near our computer screen, we now have no need to go anywhere, in fact, and can spend all of our time online reading about the Majestic Twelve and watching Ron Paul on Youtube.

How did you create it? Actually, it is very easy to think that having all of these cameras might heighten anxiety, rather than allay it, but the reality is that you just become more aware of a larger area than you are used to.  The same mental filters apply, just on a larger scale.  You don't become any more or less paranoid... or shouldn't.

We went out and bought a common scarecrow owl form our local Lowe's, drilled holes in the side which allow the camera, sensor, and infrared LEDs to poke through, and placed one of the 4 CCD cameras within. We installed this first owl cam on a 12 feet up on a post to survey the area...and scare away any unwanted winged critters alongside monitor any rude neighbors with a penchant for damaging our property.

Next we hid another camera within a huge heat lamp bulb that we took apart and installed another of the CCD cameras inside. A third camera was inconspicuously housed within a birdhouse we built specifically for the project while the final one was installed in a custom made outdoor lamp. With this new security system used in conjunction with an automated sprinkler system to spray would-be vandals in the middle of the night, the "mysterious" property damage has stopped.

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