Watching Birds From Home, Online

Thanks to Lewis Page and the folks at Sierra for this selection of bird-viewing options:

6 Exciting Birdwatching Webcams

Vicariously join in on the springtime migration from your couch

Birding is a sport for the intrepid—its participants rise at ungodly hours, bundle in layers, and sit silently for hours, all in hopes of seeing a winged animal that may never arrive. But for those who aren’t quite ready to trek outdoors into wintry-remnant weather, or who might be stuck in front of a computer when they wish they weren’t, there’s another, tamer option. Indeed, the miracles of modern webcam and streaming technology have afforded even the lowliest of couch potatoes ample portals into a variety of avian worlds. And the advent of spring means that flocks of migratory birds are en route north from their winter haunts—which means it’s about to be primetime for bird cams. Here are a few to watch in the coming months.

The Mississippi River’s Migratory Birds

On a small island in the middle of the Mississippi River’s Lake Onalaska, near the Wisconsin-Minnesota border, stands a slowly rotating camera on a pole. For now, it pans over a still-partially-frozen river where one might catch a glimpse of a bald eagle overwintering in the area. But soon, as the ice melts, the camera will capture all kinds of birds headed north up the Mississippi. The American white pelicans, Caspian terns, sandhill cranes, and cormorants that congregate around the camera on their way to northern breeding grounds are far from alone in their pursuit and pathway. The Mississippi Flyway, as the namesake river’s migration route is called, is the avenue of choice for more than 325 bird species making their way up from the Gulf of Mexico. Tune in soon for a heterogeneous and charismatic mix of feathered friends.

Sandhill Crane Migration

The Platte River might not have quite the name recognition as the Mississippi, but in the birding community this Nebraskan waterway is synonymous with magnificent spectacle. With over a quarter of a million sandhill cranes stopping over at once during migration season, the event has been hailed as one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on the continent. Fortunately, the indoorsy and non-Nebraskan souls among us are both in luck—the Crane Trust, a nonprofit dedicated to conserving and advocating for the cranes that occasionally call the area home, has set up a camera to capture the phenomenon, which will peak in late March and early April…

Read the whole story here.

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