Modern Birding

While there are too many snowy owls to count in the US and even more birders chasing them, many of us are stuck behind a desk most of the time and can’t get out as much as we’d like. Plus as we get deeper into winter, birding excursions can be more difficult, even if it’s just because you don’t want to bird with Jack Frost. But there is one way to have fun from the comfort of your desk or home.

 The answer? Bird Cams!

There are cams with live video streaming video from around the world. And the best part is that I have yet to come across one that isn’t free.The quality and sound (some unfortunately do not have sound) does vary as well as viewing time (remember time zone differences).

I like to have a cam (ok two) open in the background on my lab computer and then when a bird chirps I can take a quick break and bring it up on my screen.

Some of my favorites include the Cornell Ontario Cam (on twitter: @FeederWatchCam) and the International Bird Rescue San Francisco pelagic pool cam.

Screen shot of the Cornell Ontario Feedercam

Screen shot of the Cornell Ontario Feedercam

Also, if you like lists this is a fun opportunity. I have a friend who has kept track of all the birds he’s identified on bird cams and has over 100 species world wide. I know another birder who keeps a list of lifers that he’s only seen on bird cams so far.

Another great thing about these cams is that many have twitter accounts which allow for engagement and the opportunity to thank the people who make them possible. Like @TammieHache who constantly refills the feeders even in negative degree temperatures. It might be freezing in Manitouwadge, Ontario but Tammie regularly holds up good morning signs and puts out festive decorations like a jack-o-lantern or a snowman bird feeder just so people like us can enjoy the birds. Also @IntBirdRescue is great at answering all your seabird and bird rescue questions.

If the two cams listed above are a bit too domestic for you or you’d just like to dream about that tropical birding vacation that just can’t happen right now, check out these cams in other parts of the world.

Brazil: Ornithos Birdwatching Live Cams

Africa: Africam

And for more cams check out Bird Links to the World.

Digital birding, it’s going to be big…at least inside!