Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
Generally speaking RFID refers to wireless communication between a transponder and a reading station. Often these transponders can be passive (i.e., battery-less) that generate the power to make a transmission from a carrier wave produced by the reader. That means that the transponders can theoretically last forever and they can be small. For instance, they can be small enough to put on a hummingbird.
RFID usually refers to short distance communication. So we don’t use it to track birds over long distances. But if you want to know who is visiting a nest or a feeder–RFID can be a useful tool.
I started making RFID devices almost 10 years ago when I needed a bird feeder that could dispense food to specific individuals. After a few calls to engineering firms it was apparent that the DIY route was the only way to go that was not cost prohibitive. So after a few internet crash courses in electronics and microcontrollers, the Smartfeeder was born. Since then I’ve worked on more designs and worked with a number of good collaborators who have put my designs to work. Check out these videos to see some of our RFID devices in action: