Bird Nest Cams
See birds and their nestlings in a whole new way with nest cams.
A camera records the nesting activity of this Anna's hummingbird. Photo by Joe Dellwo.
Meet Phoebe, an Allen’s hummingbird who stars in one of the Internet’s most popular nest cam sites. Phoebe captivates viewers around the world, with audiences watching her every move live on the web from the comfort of their own homes.
Phoebe’s permanent home is in a rosebush in Joe Dellwo’s front yard in Southern California. Her comings and goings, streamed live, have gained quite a following in just under three years.
By March 2011, Phoebe’s site had clocked more than 11 million views. Because this hummer is nonmigratory, there’s a lot of activity in her nest from October to June. Laying four or five clutches per season, she keeps viewers on the edge of their seats, eagerly awaiting the day the eggs hatch.
Allen's hummingbird eggs. Photo by Joe Dellwo.
Most nest cams are webcams mounted and focused on birds’ nests or nest boxes, sometimes only inches away. Computers stream the live footage over the Internet, offering a fascinating around-the-clock look into the nesting habits of diverse species.
Raptor Rock Stars
Another nest cam attracting a lot of attention is the one fixed on a bald eagle nest in Decorah, Iowa. This nest, monitored by the Raptor Resource Project, made headlines last spring when the hatching of three eggs was streamed live.
This eagle couple, too, has a big following, with page views in the millions. Even outside nesting season, the two can be seen flying in and out of their massive nest.
A Different Kind of Learning
Each year, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology streams the action at about 30 nests all over the United States.
Jason Martin, the project leader of Cornell’s NestCam program, says the message these cameras send is, “Hey, birds are cool! Check this out!” Viewers are drawn in by the frequent activity and the opportunity to get an intimate look at birds’ nests, and many go in search of more information on their own.
While you can visit a lot of these nest cams for live action 24/7, some other sites capture and select the most exciting activity, such as the laying or hatching of eggs, in video clips for viewers to watch anytime.
On the Cornell site, you can see snippets of the nesting activity of barred owls, chimney swifts, great crested flycatchers, eastern bluebirds and many more.
There are few things on the web that combine the education, excitement and fun of nest cams. And no matter who’s running the camera, these sites all have the same goal: to share a rarely seen part of nature in order to get more people engaged in birding. So go check them out. An egg could be hatching right now!
Visit these nest cams today and check out the action.
Watch Phoebe, an Allen's hummingbird on her nest in southern California
Allen's hummingbird feeding its young. Photo by Joe Dellwo.
Watch this pair of bald eagles on their nest in Decorah, Iowa
A bald eagle sits on the nest with its three young eagles.
Watch this red-tailed hawk nest at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York
A red-tailed hawk pair at their nest.
Watch a great blue heron pair on their nest at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York
A pair of great blue herons.
NestWatch: Another Nesting Experience
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology encourages the participation in citizen science. There’s no better time to get involved in NestWatch than right now—it’s nesting season!
What is NestWatch?
It’s a nest-monitoring project in which information collected by volunteers helps ornithologists learn more about nesting birds. NestWatch information is also available online for the public to view, download and explore.
Who can participate?
Anyone! Nature lovers of all ages are encouraged to take part. You’ll need to read a code of conduct and take a short quiz to get certified. Being a nest monitor is easy, but it is a responsibility.
How does it work?
Once you’re certified, go out and look for an active nest. Make sure it’s easy to see and that you can monitor it just by walking past. Record what you see online, and then return to the nest four to five days later to see what’s changed since your last visit.
Want to participate?
Everything you need to get started is available online at nestwatch.org.