Friday, April 3, 2015

Spring into Wildlife Reality TV - Best Critter cams for Spring Wildlife Viewing

Bald Eagle Chicks
Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Critter cams are an amazing thing. How else is it possible to be a voyeur on the intimate details of family life. Ok, ok...you're right, reality TV. But seriously, critter cams open up the amazing the world of animals right before your eyes and provide a fantastic opportunity for observation and study. It's especially cool in the spring, when eggs are hatching and families are being raised. My kids and I enjoy watching, via various Web sites, critter cams positioned all around the country. They provide a great source entertainment.

Who remembers Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom? When I was growing up, under no circumstances would I miss that show.  Every week I faithfully turned on the tube to watch until it went off the air. It was revived in 2002 on Animal Planet and now also appears online as Webisodes. But I digress....

With that show and all nature programs, you are at the mercy of what videographers and producers decide to show you. You only get to see what is cool and interesting through their eyes.With critter cams, you get to see the real deal. Nature in its finest reality. It's interesting, sometimes boring, but often really cool. You see and learn things you would never be able to observe under normal circumstances with binoculars.

Because I like to provide my readers with good value, I have researched and found the best critter cam sites from around the United States and elsewhere. Here's a list for you to check out and bookmark. Many vie for the extreme cuteness award!  You can watch babies of all types being fed and being adorable.
*Note: depending on the season and activity of the animal, many of the critter cams are seasonal and the feed may not be live. Also, because animals are unpredictable, you may not see the wildlife you hope to see. Check back. You may also need special plugins to view the feeds.
  • Wildlife Forever's Web site - links to some of the best of the Web
  • Your state fish and wildlife agency often has critter cams set up. Check the agency web site. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is a great example.
  • National Audubon Society has, you guessed, bird cams and gray seal cam.
  • National Park Service offers live cams at many parks. This one of Bald Eagles is at Channel Islands.
  • The National Wildlife Refuge System offers feeds, but many are offline.
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offers many feeds. Use "cam" in the search box and the Web site will display and long list of what is available.
  • Explore.org offers an enormous collection of viewing cams. You can watch Giant Panda's in China, Polar Bears in Canada, Hippos in Africa, Honey Bees in Germany and Sharks in the United kingdom. It's really awesome.
I hope you enjoy watching the the wonder and awe of nature with your kids! Please comment with other cams that you follow. It would be great to fins more.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Five Outdoor Activities You Can Do Now to Cure Spring Fever ~ Even If It's Still Cold Outside

Oh my! It was 19 degrees outside this morning. By the calendar, Spring arrived four days ago, but by the thermometer it certainly doesn't feel that way outside! We are climbing the walls to get out and breathe in fresh air and feel the sun on our faces. The record breaking cold and wind chills are keeping us from completely breaking free. We love winter, but we are growing weary of having to put on our snow pants, gloves, ski jackets, hats and boots.

In a desperate attempt to get some quality outside that didn't require a big effort, I thought of the following activities designed get you and your families outside, even for just a few minutes.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/onnobos/8284585445/in/photolist-dC5EC6-86HcPz-86Hf14-86LhDq-86Lmch-77vk7m-7ycqQD-5xxYQU-qSRMgT-86LmG5-86Ljff-86LkrE-86Lpu5-83XYuY-9qy64q-bp1sDT-86LpK5-7ycqoT-7ygit1-86LebW-86LdF9-86H5We-86Hbzr-86Lctm-86Lt4Q-83VzSg-83XYKW-83VzZR-83USSR-83YFJq-83XYnC-86Jm1Y-86JmwA-qkEL4N-qKg2gA-4XJsbd-7ycssR-7ycsRT-7ygg9q-7ygebJ-7ygjeb-7yght5-7ycrqP-7ycsVc-7ygf31-7ycrHn-7ycszr-7ycq4D-7yctka-7ygiVh
By onnobus
  1. Look for signs of spring. We walked around the yard over the weekend looking for spring bulbs. Unfortunately, we couldn't find any, because we have to much SNOW on the ground. Maybe you will be luckier than we were.
  2. Listen for and watch the birds. The birds are fully into their springtime activities. Watching them and listening to their chirps is enough to convince the toughest skeptics that spring really is here. Hearing them sing and watching them flit around on the branches really raised our spirits. You might even catch a few migrants passing through on their way back to their breeding grounds.
  3. Find a sunny spot and lie down. The sun will feel so good on your face! Just 10 minutes and you will believe the temps are in the 50's.
  4. Go for a walk. Back to basics on this one. The warm afternoon sun will warm you up fast, even if the temps are hovering in the 20's or 30's.
  5. Watch the sunrise or sunset. Along with the longer days and the time of year comes the opportunity to enjoy the the beautiful colors of the sunrises and sunset and some amazing cloud formations.
Please share your ideas. Any inspiration is appreciated! 

The weather forecast for the next two weeks if for warming temperatures and sunny weather. Hopefully, Old Man Winter will officially bid his "adieu," and we can all breathe a sign of relief.