Back to the office? These bird webcams will get you high.

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As states and cities continue to lift pandemic restrictions, more and more people are returning to a place they thought they would never see again: their cabins. But that doesn’t necessarily mean disconnecting from the outside. Take a break from your latest PowerPoint presentation or Slack conversation with live views of birds in their natural habitat. From barred owls burrowing in nests to albatrosses roaming coastal cliffs, there’s a plethora of birds to watch from your desk.

Birdwatching has become increasingly popular during the pandemic. In the spring of 2020, the American Birding Association podcast grew from 5,000 downloads per week in February to 8,000 in May. The Audubon Society reported a 23% increase in traffic to its website in March and April 2020. Why do the winged keep us watched even in times of trouble? These bird webcams have the answer.

Barred owls

According to the American Bird Conservancy, there are approximately 3.2 million barred owls in North America. Barred owls live in the northwestern and eastern United States as well as in Canada. They are unique from other owls as they are one of the few dark-eyed owl species and are easily recognized with their scaly chests and striped bellies. Wild Birds Unlimited CEO Jim Carpenter has maintained a camera-equipped owl box in his backyard since 1998. The box is 32 feet tall and rests against the trunk of a walnut tree. Since 2003, the box has housed barred owl nests almost every year. In 2012 the Wild Birds Unlimited Barred Owl Cam became part of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Bird Cam Network. The camera and audio are connected to Carpenter’s house by a 200 foot Ethernet cable to a modem and a computer. Cornell Lab of Ornithology staff use the computer to stream live video to the Internet.

Northern Royal Albatross

Sit back and relax with a live view of gentle giants roaming the New Zealand cliffs. The New Zealand Department of Conservation’s Northern Royal Albatross Live Webcam offers an inside look at the world of seabirds. The promontory of Taiaroa Head on the Otago Peninsula is a popular location for the Northern Royal Albatross as it provides a sheltered area when ground temperatures in summer can reach over 100 degrees. The Northern Royal Albatross is one of the largest seabirds in the world with a wingspan of up to 12 feet. Unfortunately, low reproductive rates, changes in habitat and climate, and fishing practices make the northern royal albatross vulnerable. In 1985, a storm on the Chatham Islands destroyed most of the albatrosses’ nesting habitat. In some years, the percentage of nests produced was as low as 3%. The northern Chatham Islands albatross has been hunted for years. By the early 1920s, northern royal albatrosses were fully protected and their hunting became illegal. Since 1993, some New Zealanders have requested to harvest albatrosses, but none of these requests have been granted.

Bermuda petrels

This live bird webcam hosted by Nonsuch Expeditions via LookBermuda gives viewers a close up look at one of the world’s rarest seabirds. The Bermuda petrel is the second rarest seabird on the planet. Bermuda petrels are commonly called “cahow” because of the distinct noise they make. They are Bermuda’s national bird and are found on Bermuda’s currency. Cahows are large seabirds that spend most of their time in the open ocean. They are easily spotted by their long wings. Cahow has a gray-black crown and collar, white undergarments with black edges, and dark gray upper wings. For 300 years the cahow was thought to be extinct, but in 1951 18 pairs of cahow nests were rediscovered. The cahow is a “species of Lazarus” – a species that is alive after being considered extinct.

Tailthrower Manakins

Transport yourself to your first tropical vacation with the DuVal Lab Research Manakin project. This live webcam captures birds living in a lush forest on the eastern end of Isla Boca Brava, Panama. The tailed manakin is a small bird found in the forests of Central and South America. Spear-tailed manakins are brightly colored and about 13.5 centimeters long. Both male and female lance-tailed manakins have orange legs and two elongated tail feathers that form a point. Most adult females are olive green, but some may have a red crown. Adult males are mostly black with a red cap and sky blue back. When watching a live web cam of lance-tailed manakins, you may notice that some species puff out their chests. Before breeding, two males perch next to each other on a bare stick and take turns jumping. The female forms a cup nest in a tree and two beige eggs are laid and incubated for about 20 days.

Red-tailed Hawks

The Cornell Labs Red-tailed Hawk Webcam provides an up-close look at the largest and most widespread hawks in North America. Known for their bulky and broad physique, red-tailed hawks are often seen perched on branches or soaring through fields and woods. Many red-tailed hawks west of the Mississippi River do not have red tails. They are often black or dark brown, and even white. Red-tailed hawks do most of their hunting from a high perch, then descend gracefully to catch their prey. They can be seen flying over fields in search of small animals to enjoy on their perches. Red-tailed hawks have a varied diet ranging from small mammals to snakes. When you watch a red-tailed hawk webcam, you might notice a female hawk in her nest for three to four weeks. This is an incubation period where the young female stays with her eggs and the male brings her food. Newborn hawks leave the nest at around six to seven weeks, but are not able to fly confidently until after another two weeks. The population of red-tailed hawks has increased dramatically since the 1960s and continues to increase today.

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