What is so addicting about bird cams — especially during nesting season? Watching fuzzy baby birds as they learn how to eat, use their wings, and begin to navigate the world feels miraculous. It’s so fascinating, that right now millions of people around the world are watching as a whole new brood of youngins grow up.
Once you start, we guarantee you’ll want to check in and see how much the birdies develop from week to week (or day to day!). While there are hundreds of bird and feeder cams around the world, we’ve rounded up the tops ones to tune into over the next few weeks.
Decorah Eagles in Iowa
The eagles at this nest in Decorah, Iowa are like the Kardashians of the bird world. Since eagles typically go back to the same nest year after year, they’ve truly gained a loyal following. The cam started in 2008 with the PBS documentary, American Eagle, after which their viewership exploded. It reached an all-time high of more than 250 million views during the 2012 nesting season. Located near a trout hatchery in a natural wooded area, it’s a beautiful setting and there’s always something to see. Even when it’s just a single eagle sitting in the nest, it’s hard to stop watching. But the real excitement comes when the young eaglets are active or during feeding time. You feel so lucky catching one of these special moments.
Red Tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawks in New York
If you want to explore multiple bird cams, the cams section at Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a good site to bookmark. Right now, one of the most popular is their red-tailed hawk cam, located on an athletic field at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The hawks featured are Big Red (the mother) and Arthur. Did you that red-tailed hawks stay with the same mate every year? Once their eggs hatch, the baby birds stick around for 40 to 50 days before flying off into the world.
If you want to get notified when cool things happen with the Cornell bird cams, follow them on Facebook. They’ll post hawk and other bird updates, so you won’t ever miss out when something goes down.
Bella The Hummingbird
Bella the Hummingbird in California
This is another bird cam that has quite a history. Bella the hummingbird, of the Allen’s hummingbird species, has been coming to this backyard to nest since 2005. Hummingbirds are fascinating, tiny birds. Because the camera is so close, it’s easy to think the nest is a lot bigger than it is. But as you watch, you'll have to remind yourself that it’s only about the size of a tennis ball. The eggs, usually just two, are the size of Tic Tacs!
It’s truly amazing to watch these teeny tiny birds grow. They start as little specs of fluff, then soon they’re overcrowding the nest and constantly begging their mom for more food. This is a bird species where the mom does all the work, so as the baby birds get older, she’ll be gone a lot of the time gathering food. Learn more about Bella and watch the action unfold on her website.
Ospreys in Maine and California
Ospreys are raptors that typically nest on platforms, and they are fascinating to watch. Audubon has several osprey cams to choose from, including the ospreys on Hog Island and the ospreys who nest on a bridge in San Francisco. With both cams, even if there’s not a ton going on, you’re still getting amazing views. If you happen to be late this year or the birds aren’t actively nesting, you can look for feeder cams for other great live moments.
Barred Owls in Indiana
If you love owls, check out the bird cam from Cornell Lab of Ornithology featuring barred owls using a nest box in Zionsville, Indiana. You might catch the male owl bringing a rabbit to the young or one of the parents regurgitating (casting a pellet) food for them. It also has recent highlights, so you’ll never miss a great moment. But be sure to tune in soon, like many larger birds, the barred owls lay their eggs earlier in the season than smaller birds. They’ll be done by May and June when songbirds are at the height of nesting season — and the young owls only stick around the nest for a month or so.