Ready to put your own backyard on camera? Here's the scoop on how we had ours set up, back when the Duck Cam was in our yard. It now resides in a small town in Pennsylvania, and I don't have the specifics on the equipment used. Since this was written there are certainly some advancements and much better ways to set up a webcam. It all depends on your budget and resources available.
Our camera was an infrared day & night Sony SE-H311. We got it from PI Manufacturing, an excellent source we've used for over 10 years that sells inexpensive computer electronic accessories.
The equipment included a weather resistant housing, power adapter, cable and infrared light source. When this page was written it cost $190.00. The next model down is the SE-H331 which is made by SHARP and has slightly lower resolution, but all the same features and extras are included.
There is no need to buy a special computer unless you are running sophistcated equipment or intensive programs. We used an older computer with an early version Webcam 32. We used the same computer to upload the captured images to dedicated webservers at our data center. From there the captured image is redistributed to anyone logged onto the Duck Cam page or the Live Ducks website.
It sounds complicated, but it's not rocket science. However it does require significant resources to reach upwards of half a million visitors a year. When the Duck Cam is written up in a paper or featured online somewhere I have servers ready to handle the extra web traffic.
Do your part to make a duck's life safer, happier, better.