Can Wildlife SEE The IR Light?

I am wondering if birds and squirrels, etc., can see the IR light when it comes in. They seem to react to it, and birds even land right in front of my XT and stare into the lens, and peck at the front of the camera.

I am wondering if cats, dogs, deer, owls, rodents, etc. can see the light that we cannot see.



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Research says no. Did you disable the blue light? They will see that. Birds may also be reacting to their reflection.

Yes, the blue light is off. It seems the birds and chipmunks and squirrels react to the camera though. I know there is a slight audible click, which may alert them, but they behave differently when the camera is actively recording.

Well the IR illuminator does give off visible red light, so it could be that.

I don’t think mammals can see IR. Pretty sure snakes can, maybe some bugs, not sure about birds.

My guess is they can hear something extremely high-pitched coming from the camera when it’s recording (i.e something you can’t).


I looked at this a little while ago.

Near infrared emitters, which Blink use, have a wavelength of 850nm. This is beyond what most people can see easily, though in tests, some people can even just about perceive wavelengths as long as 900nm. These LEDs do not produce a perfectly pure wavelength at 850nm, instead they produce a spectrum, having their peak at 850nm. Their range is probably as much as 200nm, with lowering intensity as you move away from this central wavelength, in either direction. As a result, at least some of the illumination is closer to 750nm, and visible to all, hence why it can be seen as a red LED. Even so, we are not very sensitive at this part of the spectrum, so the LED seems relatively dim, when we know in fact that they must be really very bright indeed, because of how they illuminate the scene. Of course, it will be dimmer at 750nm, where we see it, so that’s also part of why it doesn’t seem extremely bright to us.

To me it is a very obvious, bright red, LED, but I can’t notice any illumination of the scene. Some people may, and most animals will be able to at least see the LED itself, even if they cannot see the illumination of the scene. This may explain their interest in the camera itself, when operating, with the click perhaps drawing their attention to it. We can see it, why wouldn’t they? I hear the click everytime it catches me in the dark, and I always look up to see that red light.

Medium and far infrared, which we would not see at all, requires more expensive emitters, and much more expensive camera sensors, but it is done, just not in consumer grade equipment.

Birds pecking at the lens, I’m with ceedee on that one, probably arguing with their reflection, lol.

That’s a good point about the high frequency sound. I can hear my projection clock when I press the button to increase the illumination to high, if I am right next to it, and yes, definitely some snakes have IR sensitive pits, so I’m sure they could sense it.

Birds sit on one of our cameras all the time. We get videos of their tail feathers and they fly off.

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Take a look at this. I’d say yes, what do you say?

Mamals cannot see IR light. The cameras do click when engaging IR lense, so that sound could alert them.

Ok, I’ve heard the clicking and I know by default there is a red light on the camera. I don’t remember if this was before or after I turned that light off.

I do have a lot of footage where she licks it too, but she used to stare at the camera ALL the time.

I refer you to my reply a few posts up. We’re mammals, and we can see it. Most humans are sensitive to at least a portion of the range emitted by the IR illumination provided by Blink, which is why most see it as a red light. Some would even be sensitive to its core, or centre frequency, which is where it is brightest, at 850 nm. It’s a standard IR illuminator wavelength, which is why you can nearly always see a red light emitted from home grade security cameras. A quick Wiki would show you that some humans are even sensitive to a wavelength of up to 900 nm, so it’s no surprise that your nocturnal visitor can see it, being a mammal, especially with it probably having better night vision than us. He/she saw the red light, and came over to investigate, even if it couldn’t perceive any scene illumination from the device, which we can’t either.

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I think you are thinking of the blue light, which is a recording indicator light. That can be turned off (with the physical switch inside the battery compartment) without otherwise affecting the camera’s function.

The red light on the camera is the IR illuminator (which has been explained several times already in this thread); while this can be turned off in the camera’s settings page, the camera’s “night vision” will be non-existent. In the video you uploaded, your camera’s night vision is clearly active.

I still maintain that any mammals that take an interest in the cameras are either attracted to the click of the IR cut filter moving out of the way at the start of recording, the visible red light, a faint/high-pitched sound that humans can’t really hear, or some combination of the above.

If anyone can share a reliable reference that states mammals can sense infrared light, I will happily stand corrected.

There are no mammals that can see infrared light, but the IR illuminator used by Blink, and many other home infrared cameras do not use infrared, they use near infrared, meaning the near end of that spectrum, in terms of our vision.

Coupled with the fact that the emitter does not produce a pure single frequency, means that some of the illumination is within our ability to sense it.

The emitter is an 850 nm emitter, and they typically have a range which goes as low as 750 nm wavelength.

There is some overlap. Yes the sensitivity is lower, and yes the intensity is lower, but they overlap, and it is why we can see the LED. Some see it brighter than others. To me, it looks easily as bright as the blue LED when that is on.

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My cameras have a bright white light that comes on and makes everything bright as day, as well as a blue light that comes on when the camera is triggered either remotely or by motion detection.

Birds peck at just about everything they perch on, don’t they? They also fly headlong into mirrored glass, I discovered while watching the feeders one morning from the kitchen. You would think at some point the gutsy little kamikazes would reroute instead of crashing into their reflection, (aka the window), but some don’t. One of life’s great mysteries, I suppose.

That’s actually them playing chicken with themselves. (Obviously they don’t know it’s their own reflection.) In nature, it’s a way of establishing dominance to fly directly at another bird of similar “rank”. It’s a weird sort of reverse darwin when they hit the glass, because in normal nature, that bird would be the winner.

I will go out on a limb and say yes. The squirrels in my yard have chewed the rubber weather protector on my best camera to pieces. It still works. And due to the fact that I can see the red light myself, I feel pretty confident that they can see it as well.