Sunday, November 17, 2013

An awesome, must-watch feeder cam!

Your narrator's admittedly somewhat cluttered desk. Exhibit A - the monitor on the left, in front of the window. It is running the coolest live feeder cam I've ever seen. Not that I've seen lots of feeder cams, or make a habit of watching them, but this one was so interesting that last Friday I just let it run on the secondary monitor while I (tried) to go about my work.

Someone tipped me to a new cam administered by the mighty Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and I'm glad that I clicked my way through to check it out. You can too, RIGHT HERE. This cam transports us - at least those of us down below the Great Lakes - to the Great White North and an ever-changing assemblage of northern birds that inflame Ohio birders with the twitching jitters. Of course, you'll have to wait until daylight to see much, but your patience will be rewarded.

The Cornell-sponsored feeder cam takes us far into the boreal, to a land of truly tough birds. I'm at location "A" on this handy Google map, in Columbus. The feed instantly transports me about 750 miles nearly due north, to Manitouwadge, Ontario on the far side of Lake Superior. Were I to make the drive, it'd take the better part of 13 hours. The Internet is faster. Once we've cabled through to Manitouwadge, we're plunked down in the beautiful backyard of Tammie and Ben Hache, the cam hosts. I and I'm sure blizzards of other virtual birders are grateful for their efforts. I mentioned that their birds are tough. The record low temperature at Manitouwadge is -49 F, and the average January daily low temperature is -9 F.

So, the second I tuned in to the Hache's feeder cam, I was greeted by a flurry of beautiful Evening Grosbeaks. The audio is great, and so you'll not only see the birds, you'll clearly hear their raucous House Sparrowlike calls, and even the crunching of seeds as these robust seed-crushers dig in. The Hache's apparently have a line item in their budget for sunflower seeds. In 2012, they bought and fed over 750 lbs. of seed to their avian visitors!

At one point, I heard a bit of a fluffling sound followed by a mild thump, and glanced at the monitor to see, of all things, a Ruffed Grouse! Bet not many of you can boast one of these partridges as a feeder bird! He must be a regular, as I saw the grouse on another occasion. He's fond of the suet.

Another great bird to see were Gray Jays, a true species of the boreal forest and the western mountains. Lots of other cool animals visit: several species of woodpeckers, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Black-capped Chickadees, etc. I've not had a chance to watch the Hache cam much, but they've had as many as 200+ Evening Grosbeaks, over 20 Hoary Redpolls, scads of Common Redpolls, and Pine Grosbeaks. A wayward White-winged Dove even once appeared!

Be sure and tune in for some great Bird TV, RIGHT HERE.

1 comment:

Mary Huey said...

thanks for the heads-up about this!!