Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Critter cams - the next best thing to being there

Nothing keeps me quite as warm in the winter as cuddling up with critters.

When the days are cold and dreary,  I curl up in my nest (which is a big old comfy arm-chair) with my laptop and check out other nests (hummingbirds and eagles are some of my favorites)   through webcams and online videos.  There may not be much critter activity in my own yard right now, but there is always plenty of it online.

A webcam is a video camera that feeds its images in real time to a computer or computer network. They are great for  checking the weather conditions before a vacation, among other things. For nature nerds like me, they also allow a birds-eye view of wildlife.

Lately, a very popular webcam in the Virginia area is the Bald Eagle nest at Norfolk Botanical Garden.  The second eagle egg was laid in this nest on Sunday, February 6th. Since eagle eggs typically take 32-36 days to incubate, I'll mark my calendar and make sure I start checking the webcam on around March 10th or so to see if I can see the babies hatching. There is another eagle cam at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge, Maryland.

There are many other nature webcams online. Here are websites to find a few, suggested by some of my online wildlife loving friends:
Webcam List Animal Cams Part 1 ; Cornell Lab of Ornithology Nestcams ;

Of course, you can't see much on a webcam after dark. But there are plenty of online videos to help keep the wildlife gardener enthused until spring brings the little fluttering critters back to our gardens.

There is a great site called which allows you to explore the wildlife in your state by watching online  videos. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries offers several videos on this site to help you create wildlife habitats at home. The videos are titled: Landscapes, Butterfly Gardens, Native Plants, Shrubs and Woodlands.

 Maryland videos include a nice one called Springs Wings about butterflies and their habitats and another one on Bayscaping.

And of course, there is always YouTube, where you can search for almost anything like "hummingbirds in the snow" and find great little videos like the one that I shared at the beginning of this post. It might just be enough to inspire you to create your own environmentally friendly hummingbird garden so that you can share some videos of your own come springtime.

Other webcam sites: USA webcams

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