The Office Birder

The Office Birder

April 30, 2014 by  
Filed under Features

As an avid birder the only thing worse than an office job is not having a window nearby to catch a glimpse of a passing bird. Luckily, technological advancements provide a solution to at least one of those problems. As many birders out there may know, there is a lot of live footage from bird cams put in place by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and a few other organizations that provide us access to the great outdoors and exclusive footage of birds nesting, hunting and feeding their young from anywhere.

It’s the perfect time of year to watch with wonder.

I have spent many an hour watching the Red Tailed hawks sit on the nest incubating, and rolling their eggs with patience. It is really fascinating to see the teamwork between the pair of hawks as they carry out their instincts as protective parents. My co-workers must think I’m crazy because of how excited I am to see the eggs hatch… Any day now!

A variety of viewing options.

The best part of Cornell’s site is that you can watch whatever birds you feel like watching – there are hawks, barn owls, albatross, ospreys and even a birdfeeder in Ithaca that attracts a variety of species. Don’t forget my favorite – the Heron Cam. I doubt there is a more regal bird than the Great Blue Heron. They should start nesting soon and I cannot wait to see it.

Opportunities for interaction.

One of the best things about these cams is the fact that they encourage you to interact with the moderators and other viewers. If you have some free time, or just need a break from office work, it is fun to read what people are saying on the live chat. A lot of times they pose some really great and educational questions. You might even get lucky enough to get on one where they have a prize for guessing the day the eggs hatch for a prize! This interaction makes you feel like you are more involved in the entire process, especially so in a nesting pair of birds.

It’s not only Cornell that offers great bird cams.

The advancements in technology and the corresponding drop in equipment prices have allowed more people to start recording the birds, and in effect bring the joy of bird watching to a larger audience. There are so many great web sites that offer nest cams, just doing a quick search for your favorite bird and ‘nest cam’ will provide hours of entertainment. I love hummingbirds, so naturally I went searching for some nest footage one day. I found out that a mother hummingbird deserted a nest along with her two chicks, and luckily the nest cam was in place so they could get some help. Watch the young hummingbirds go crazy with joy to be fed in the video below.

Video of Hummingbird Rescue

If you’re looking for something a little more majestic, look no further than the Decorah Eagles cam and watch our national bird raise its young. You could even go so far as getting yourself some new birdfeeders and a web cam and create your own page to watch.

As you can see this is one of the great ways I have found to cope with being surrounded by walls. The next time you find yourself staring at the wall of your cubicle, no need to get down. Just fire up a bird cam, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the great outdoors and see how many birds you can identify! It’s a great way to make the day go just a little bit better.

Article contributed by: Ernie Allison

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