Many of those who make birding a hobby eventually stumble upon an active nest during the breeding season. I have been lucky enough to come across Canada Geese, robins, an Eastern Wood-pewee and a Mourning Dove sitting on their nests over the past couple of years. I have also seen Yellow-bellied Sapsucker nestlings poking their heads outside of the tree cavity in which they were born and a male Baltimore Oriole bringing insects to his young in the nest (the nest was too high in the tree to actually see the baby orioles). Then, of course, there are the man-made nest boxes and platforms where Eastern Bluebirds, Purple Martins, Tree Swallows and Ospreys nest which anyone can view, if they know where to look. While observing these birds raise their young is fascinating, I think that coming across a bird nesting in the “wild” is much more rewarding.
For those of us who are not fortunate enough to find an active nest close to home, technology can bring the nests of many species which are otherwise unobservable right into our homes through nest cams. The BioDiversity Research Institute located in Maine, USA has one of the most reliable websites for wildlife viewing through the use of nest cams. The BRI, whose mission is to assess emerging threats to wildlife and ecosystems through collaborative research, and to use scientific findings to advance environmental awareness and inform decision makers, is well-known for its eagle and loon cams which have been in operation for a few years now. This year, it has four web cams in operation (the loon cam is to be set up later this month):
Right now a Peregrine Falcon is sitting on at least two eggs; I have witnessed the adult turning them in the nest. An Osprey and an eagle were also both visible at their respective nests today. The eagle apparently laid an egg on March 24, 2011 but I’m uncertains as to whether the adults are still incubating the egg(s) as I have frequently seen the nest left unattended. The blog has not been updated since April 1st so I am not sure of the current status of this nest.
The eagle’s nest at the Norfolk Botanical Garden in Virginia has three eagle chicks in the nest. This cam will be well worth watching over the next several weeks as the adults come in to feed them and they eventually learn to fly.
Watching these nest cams is a great way to spend a few quiet moments at the beginning or end of the day or when I am unable to get outside and experience nature firsthand. There is something peaceful about watching the birds go through their daily routines; each day the challenge to survive begins anew, but the joy of witnessing the nestlings succeed in their first flight is well worth the struggle.
~ This journal entry is dedicated to the memory of Andrew Michael Mastromatteo (April 19, 1987 – April 11, 2011) ~
Be at peace, little brother, “for death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity”. – William Penn