This is probably pretty pedestrian for you all, but it's a sincere and slightly desperate question. My 94 year-old mom has been a casual birdwatcher her whole life. She's still pretty spry but has advanced macular degeneration, with no central vision and can no longer use binoculars/monoculars. Being stuck inside like most of us these days, she gets great joy from watching birds at the winter feeder outside her window, but can't really see them well and when she approaches they fly away.

I'm looking for a reasonably priced solution and have seen many monoculars with smart phone adapters, but she has a dumb phone and feels she's too old to upgrade. She does have a Kindle Fire she's learned to use for a camera and computer. Hence my question about a zoom lens for a Kindle Fire. I've seen a few clip on zoom lenses but don't know if they'd work on a Fire and not sure of their quality.

Or perhaps are there decent wildlife cameras that can link directly via Wifi or Bluetooth without a security camera hub, so it can be viewed with a Kindle Fire?

Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Many recent cameras allow control via app over WiFi. Another option would be a web cam accessible on the local area network she could stream to her Fire. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 14, 2020 at 5:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ I second the webcam idea. I actually used an Arlo security camera set two feet from my birdfeeder because I never saw any damn birds using it. The motion trigger captured a whole bunch of birds that I had never seen, and I can stream if I want to. Note I am not endorsing Arlo for this, just saying this type of device is an option \$\endgroup\$
    – Peter M
    Dec 14, 2020 at 7:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Webcam is the way to go IMHO. You should make that an answer that we can upvote... \$\endgroup\$
    – xenoid
    Dec 14, 2020 at 12:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Agree this is best answer by consensus. Can i first get rx for webcams, or is there other community I should ask? Cannot require base camera station & must support Kindle Fire viewing software or browser- based viewing. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 14, 2020 at 22:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ A clip-on lens might be marginally acceptable for your use. The biggest problem with clip-on zooms is the alignment, which is critical. Most add-on lenses claim to fit most cameras, but they don't fit any well. If you are a DIY guy, you might be able to make a better bracket, the hard part is making it removeable so the Kindle can still be used for normal purposes. Or, if you are really good at DIY, you could make a bracket that held a spotting scope and the Kindle together. I have seen nice pictures taken with a phone held up to a spotting scope. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mattman944
    Dec 15, 2020 at 0:21

1 Answer 1


I personally can't imagine a zoom lens clipped onto a tablet would deliver satisfying image quality. I would rather recommend a spotting scope on a small tripod. There are plenty of cheap spotting scopes available on Amazon and most of them come with a small tripod. You can set this up on a table so you don't have to hold it on your own. Some of them even come with a smartphone adapter.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your comment. However, her macular degeneration makes it impossible to use optical scopes anymore because she has no central vision. Only her peripheral vision remains. She can see her Kindle Fire by moving her head to find the image. I think you're right about a clip-on telephoto lens being unsatisfactory. I'm thinking now that a Wifi security or wildlife camera she could monitor on her Fire awould be a better solution. Maybe someone could recommend some Wifi cameras. They would have to support either Ksoftware for Kindle Fire or browser- based viewing \$\endgroup\$ Dec 14, 2020 at 21:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Cont: ...Would have to support either viewing software for Kindle Fire or browser- based viewing, since she is not comfortable with smart phones; & could not require security camera base, since she has no need of nor ability to manage security system. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 14, 2020 at 21:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JoelBGibbs What Arjihad is suggesting is to use the scope with an adapter that holds the Kindle camera to the eyepiece. You might need to fabricate such a bracket to hold her kindle in the right spot, but there are brackets readily available to fit smartphones on the end of a spotting scope. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Dec 16, 2020 at 1:02

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