All over North America, it’s nesting season. And you can watch.
“Nest cams” offer intimate views into the family life of birds. By this time in early May, eggs in many nests have already hatched and the nests are filled with little downy bodies with occasionally gaping mouths. Over the coming weeks, you can watch parents feed and shelter their young, who will gradually grow feathers, test their wings and venture from the nest. The links below take you to a sampler of available nest cams from around the continent: bald eagles in British Columbia , Red-tailed hawks in New York City, Eastern bluebirds in New York state, and loons in Minnesota.
Click on the bird name to go to the live feed, and please be patient while the video feed loads. Have fun.
This nest cam is maintained by Hancock Wildlife Foundation in British Columbia, Canada. The view of the eagles is absolutely extraordinary.
Today is a critical day for this pair of young red-tailed hawks that are nesting on a ledge of NYU’s Bobst Library, outside the office of the president of the university. Only one of the pair’s three eggs has hatched; the other two eggs are still in the nest, but are not viable.
An attempted rescue is planned for midday today to aid the female, known as Violet, who is suffering from a severely swollen foot, casued by a metal band cutting into her leg. According to the New York Times, which maintains the nest cam, Bobby and Kathy Horvath, the city’s preeminent wildlife rehabilitators, will attempt to take Violet from the nest and bring her into the office, where a veterinarian will try to remove the band and assess the hawk’s health. If she needs rehabilitation, her single eyass (the term for a baby hawk) will probably also be taken from the nest and raised by hand. It is apparently unlikely that the male, known as Bobby, would be able to rear the baby on his own.
As I watch right now, Violet has just returned to the nest with a dead squirrel. Breakfast. Mmmm.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology provides links to many nest cams, including this one in Glenham, NY. Five nestlings hatched on April 30th and are now dark, downy mounds that periodically erupt into a frenzy of open-mouthed peeping, as they strain upward to compete for the mother bluebird’s feeding attentions, before subsiding into a sleepy mass of fluff. For more about bluebirds, visit the North American Bluebird Foundation.
As of this writing, the loons are still incubating the eggs, which are expected to hatch in early June. You may also want to follow Larry Backlund’s Loon Blog for fascinating updates and detailed loon observations. Mr. Backlund knows his loons, pointing out, for example, that the parent loons easily distinguish between bald eagles and osprey flying so high overhead as to appear as specks. The loons become agitated by eagles, which have been known to raid nests and eat nestlings, while ignoring the ospreys, which stick to fish and therefore pose no threat.