Customizable Bird Clock Sings The Hours By

For those looking to build their own clocks, one of the easiest ways to get started is with a pre-built module that uses a simple quartz oscillator and drives a set of hands. This generally doesn’t allow for much design of the clock besides the face, and since [core weaver] was building a clock that plays bird songs, a much more hackable clock driver was needed to interface with the rest of the electronics needed to build this project.

The clock hands for this build are driven by a double stepper motor which controls an hour and minute hand coaxially but independently. Originally an H-bridge circuit was designed for driving each of the hands but they draw so little current in this configuration that they could be driven by the microcontroller directly. A DS3231 clock is used for timekeeping connected to an ATMega128a which controls everything else. At the start of each hour the clock plays a corresponding bird song by communicating with an mp3 module, and a remote control can also be used to play the songs on demand.

Bird clocks are not an uncommon thing to find off the shelf, but this one adds a number of customizations that let it fly above those offerings, including customizing the sounds that play on the hour and adding remote control capabilities, a lithium battery charging circuit, and a number of other creature comforts. If you’re looking for even more unique bird clock designs this binary bird clock might fit the bill.

7 thoughts on “Customizable Bird Clock Sings The Hours By

  1. Funny project. I bought one of these Chinese clocks a couple of weeks back for around 5€. The right birdsound is played by a starting the clock just before 6 am and every time the minute hand reaches 0 there is a switch which gets triggered. The module counts the switch moments to know if it’s am or pm when you adjust the clock to the proper time, to allow for the silent period between 9:00 pm and 06:00 am. An easy mod would be to keep everything of the clock and attach your own sound module. This would certainly improve on the lo-fi bird sounds that the stand module plays, but you could also play farts on random hour times etc.

  2. The “Audubon”-branded clocks like that stop playing the bird sounds after 18 months.

    The appropriate bird song is played if you push a button on the back, but it doesn’t happen automatically.

    1. Mine is 20 years old, and still singing.

      Also, the light sensor silences the birds when it’s dark, so they don’t wake you up every hour. Not much good for day sleepers, I guess.

      1. Could be survivorship bias, but I think mine’s even older, I want to say at least 30. The minute hand kind of jumps a bit, but the audio is still flawless.

  3. Mourning doves coo all the day many times an hour so I call them daily doves. I heard one coo at 3 AM too. The pre dawn robin fest ain’t what it used to be. Birds sing at night during migration to stay together.

    Odd to see German labels and 12 hour dial. 24 birds should be more suited to the day/night. Doves and starlings for half hour and quarter hour. Owls hoot at night.

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