Category Archives: Webcams

Falcons, Herons & Owls, oh my!

It’s March, which means it’s again the time of year when I give a little plug for my favorite nestcam website. Earlier this month, the nestcams over at the Dutch site Beleef de Lente started up for the spring nesting season.

Storks sleeping on one leg at the nest site.

For the 2011 season the site will have live streaming cams on the following Dutch nesting bird species:

Little Owl (Steenuil)
Eurasian Eagle-owl (Oehoe)
White Stork (Ooievaar)
Barn Swallow (Boerenzwaluw)
Eurasian Nuthatch (Boomklever)
Common Kingfisher (IJsvogel)
Purple Heron (Purperreiger)
Peregrine Falcon (Slechtvalk)

The kingfisher, heron and falcons are new for this year, although Common Kingfishers and Peregrine Falcons have been featured on the site before.

Remember the time difference (the Netherlands is GMT +1) when you have a look at the cams. The owl cams will probably be more active at night. Just this afternoon I had a look at the cams and saw a Peregrine Falcon snoozing outside the nest box, and both White Storks asleep on the nest. The Eurasian Eagle-owl began incubating just today. The swallow and heron cams have yet to start up, but all of the other cameras have seen birds visiting the nest sites, though no eggs have been laid so far.

Eurasian Eagle-owl incubating at her nest

I love these cams for a few reasons.

1. There are eight different cams available via one website.
2. Several of the nests have multiple cameras on them, so you can follow the birds as they move from view to view.
3. The cams are live streaming, with sound! None of this picture-refreshes-every-10-seconds nonsense. You see it all!
4. Archived clips of nestcam highlights. You don’t have to be fluent in Dutch to click through the clips to see amazing captures from the cams.
5. If you can read Dutch, the written regular updates by species-specific experts are great at explaining what is going on at each nest site.

If you have the chance, visit the Beleef de Lente site and visit some European nesting birds!

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Streaming Dutch back yard birds

Last week the Dutch branch of BirdLife International, Vogelbescherming, introduced a new website featuring four different bird cams. Beleef de winter is the non-breeding season’s answer to the hugely popular series of nest cams run by Vogelbescherming each spring, Beleef de Lente. Viewers from around the world can watch Dutch feeder visitors on four different cameras.

Like the springtime nest cams, the live streaming winter cams are available 24 hours. Highlights from the cams are archived, so if there isn’t any action when you take a peek, you can still see some resident Dutch winter birds.

My favorite is cam 3, which is pointed at an open water source. The bubbling water is pretty popular bathing site for birds like Great Tits, Blackbirds, and European Robins. The clip “02-01 Populaire badplaats” shows a robin having a quickie bath and a cute Blue Tit who seems content to just wash its face in the water. Another great clip features a pair of Long-tailed Tits, which are like chickadees only fluffier, bigger-headed, and sporting little white Mohawks and super-sized tails: “05-01 Staartmezen.”

Nest cams are popular in the spring breeding season, which for most local birds is still months away. These feeder cams from Holland are fun to watch while we wait for those nest cams to fire up again. Do you have any favorite winter bird cams that are running right now?

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Top Dutch nestcam clips 2010

The Dutch branch of BirdLife International, Vogelbescherming Nederland, has an extremely popular nestcam website each spring at Beleef de Lente. As cameras are nearly shut down for the season, fans have voted for their favorite highlight clip from the eight nestcams. The Clip of the Year is called “Huiselijk Geweld” – Domestic Violence. It shows a Little Owl family dealing with an intruder – a Stock Pigeon with a nest of her own in the same box as the owls!

Unfortunately the highlight clips are not embeddable this year, but if you click on the image below you will be taken a page showing all of the best clips.

The favorite highlights from all of the nestcams are shown below the Little Owl clip. Check out the seven impossibly tiny Great Titlings in “Koolmees: Zeven snaveltjes” and two White Storks sleeping through being banded in the nest in “Ooievaar: Ringen Gorssel 2010.”

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Spring nest cam time again!

My favorite nest cams over at the Dutch site Beleef de Lente start streaming today. For the season it looks like they’ll have cameras on Common Kestrel (Torenvalk), Little Owl (Steenuil), Great Tit (Koolmees), White Stork (Ooievaar), Barn Swallow (Boerenzwaluw), Eurasian Nuthatch (Boomklever), Eurasian Eagle-owl (Oehoe) (!!), and Barn Owl (Kerkuil). Those last two are new for this year and I’m really looking forward to peeking in on the Eagle-owl in the coming weeks.

UHU! [Eurasian Eagle Owl] by hans s, Creative Commons on Flickr

Usually at least a few of the nests have multiple live cameras going, and highlight videos are archived for later viewing (Iets gemist?). Nest milestones like the date of each egg and hatching are noted too (Hoogtepunten).

Even if you don’t read Dutch, the streaming cams are fun to watch and the archived clips are usually neat.

Are you looking forward to watching a nest cam this season? Do you have a favorite live streaming nest cam website? Please let me know in the comments!

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Colbert joins San Jose Peregrine drama

A Peregrine Falcon named Esteban Colbert, after Stephen Colbert’s alter-ego Esteban Colberto, has taken up residence at the San Jose City Hall. Colbert (the falcon) has been seen with Clara, a Peregrine who has starred in the City Hall’s Falcon Cam for the last two years.

The San Jose City Hall Peregrine Falcons became reality show superstars more than two years ago when staff opened up the birds’ rooftop nesting box to worldwide viewers of the FalconCam.

In the third “season” of her ongoing reality show, falcon mother Clara has another new man in her life and, based on field reports, is expected to soon make him a father.

Clara has quite a history with the males.

As it became apparent that last year’s tiercel (male falcon) Carlos was not returning for a second season, falcon fans have been watching the FalconCam to see if a new beau would attempt to woo Clara.

“I’m delighted that Esteban Colbert appeared at City Hall this week, and that he and Clara are hitting it off,” said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, who press reports have noted is an avid fan of “The Colbert Report.” “Like the City Hall falcons, the original Colbert has proven that with primitive instincts and sharp talons, anyone can survive in modern society.”

Read the whole article here and find out more about the San Jose Falcons here.

Here’s Stephen talking about other animals and things named after him:

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Oh no, it’s CAM time again!

Last year I spent a lot of time watching live online bird and nest cams when I should have been working. I doubt this year will be any different.

My favorites are the Rochester Falconcam and the Beleef de Lente cams from the Dutch arm of BirdLife International, Vogelbescherming.

This year will be very exciting for the Rochester cam. The long-used nest box was relocated over the winter to a new location due to construction work. A second nest box was also placed in the area and falcon-watchers are waiting to see if and when the falcons, Mariah and Kaver, will choose one of the boxes. The Rochester Falconcam cameras were turned on this week at the Powers Building location so you can already tune in to see if the falcons will make an appearance. You can keep up with all the Rochester Falconcam news by reading their blog, Imprints, which also includes frequent updates on Mariah & Kaver’s offspring from previous years.


If you’re interested in supporting the Falconcam, you can make donations here. You could also purchase a Mariah & Kaver t-shirt or other product from Birdorable, where 30% of your purchase price goes to the Falconcam.

The cams at Beleef de Lente won’t start up until March 1st. Last year there were cameras following families of Common Kestrels, Little Owls, European Kingfishers, Eurasian Spoonbills, Sandwich Terns and Common Swifts. The Little Owls suffered quite a drama as all four eggs hatched but the parents were unable to provide enough food for the family and only one of the chicks survived to fledge.

Beleef De Lente

What are some of your favorite Bird Cams? Wait, don’t tell me – I’ll never get anything done all spring!

UPDATE: I just read which birds will be on the Beleef De Lente cams this year: Great Tit; Common Kestrel; Little Owl; White Stork; Eurasian Spoonbill; Sandwich Tern; Peregrine Falcon; Common Kingfisher. I can’t wait!

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Foto Friday: pre-fledge Common Kestrel

This week’s photo was captured from the Beleef de Lente kestrel cam a few minutes ago. I didn’t get much work done this afternoon because I’ve been watching a few of the chicks take turns sitting on the ledge, watching their parents fly by, nipping at bugs and preening in the wind. I’m hoping to see a fledge – I’ve got six chances.

Common Kestrel juvenile in the Netherlands

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Foto Friday: Rochester Falconcam

This week’s photo was captured back in April. Kaver, the male of the pair of Peregrines at the Rochester Falconcam, relieves his mate Mariah during brooding. There were five eggs and in this picture it looks like that’s one too many for Kaver to cover.

0410-155802 edit
0410-155802 edit by StarWatcher307, Creative Commons on Flickr

The Falconcam is not streaming; the images are refreshed every few moments and viewers can download the images at any time to capture a certain moment. There are five cameras pointed at the scrape Mariah and Kaver use as their nestbox. Today the Falconcam announced on their blog that there will be major construction around the nestbox starting in July so Mariah and Kaver will have to relocate next season. Read about it at Imprints. You can support the Falconcam by purchasing official gear from their CafePress shop, The Scrape. Birdorable also supports the Falconcam with cute Birdorable versions of Mariah and Kaver on t-shirts, gifts and other apparel.

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Distracted by Common Kestrels

I’ve been spending way too much time watching the birdcams from Vogelbescherming’s Beleef de Lente site lately. Vogelbescherming is the Dutch BirdLife partner and Beleef de Lente roughly translates to Experience Spring.

There are six cams this season. I’ve been most interested in the pair of Common Kestrels (Torenvalken) raising six chicks. The sixth hatch was on 25 May so they should all fledge within about two weeks (typical fledge is 27 to 32 days).

Like the other cams on the site, highlights are mentioned on the left side of the screen so you can catch up on what was missed. The highlights for this nest were the laying of all six eggs (two days apart each) and the hatch dates (between 23 and 25 May).

Highlight videos are linked on the right side of the streaming cam. These are great to watch and sometimes there are cute or funny captions added by the webmaster. You can watch the chicks get ringed (zes torenvalken geringd), a Barn Owl ‘visiting’ the nest box (kerkuil komt weer kijken) and many more.

Common Kestrels get ringed in the Netherlands
eyas-napping in zes torenvalken geringd

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