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Red-Tailed Hawk and Great Blue Heron Webcams
April 24, 2012 6:08 AM   Subscribe

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has set up web cams next to red-tailed hawk and great blue heron nests near campus, with around-the-clock live streaming video. Greatest hits so far include a newly-hatched hawk being fed, and an evening owl attack on the female heron. More exciting than Cornell's recent stinky corpse flower cam. (Note: the gristly thing in the hawk nest is a pigeon killed yesterday that they've been feeding to the hatchling, so trigger warning if dead things upset you.)
posted by aught (22 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think I'm going to keep the great blue heron cam up on my secondary monitor...right now, it's just chilling, and I like to have something chill next to me when I get stressed out at work.
posted by xingcat at 6:22 AM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Awesome cams! That Red-Tailed nest is really getting buffeted by the wind.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:23 AM on April 24, 2012


(Just to be clear the "annoyingcommentstreams" tag on this post refers to the barrage of self-appointed know-it-alls and anthropomorphizing nitwits in the comment streams next to the cams, not Mefi.)
posted by aught at 6:25 AM on April 24, 2012


Ithaca, NY. April 24. 37° F.
Ah, Cornell. How I miss you.
posted by The Bellman at 6:45 AM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also red-tail cam is awesome because it's a god damn pantry in there. Dead vole. Dead other vole. Dead bird. Dead... what the hell is that?
posted by The Bellman at 6:47 AM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is really not good for my productivity.

Like the Shiba Inu puppy cam, which I kept on my second monitor, but it just kept stealing my attention.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 6:48 AM on April 24, 2012


The other dead bird was a pigeon. Now ex-pigeon. One of its legs has sort of been... incorporated into the nest on the lower right.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 6:48 AM on April 24, 2012


Ithaca, NY. April 24. 37° F.
Ah, Cornell. How I miss you.


Yeah... though generally it's been a warm spring, we had 4-8 in. (depending where you were around town) of very heavy (I shoveled it off my driveway before work, ugh) wet snow yesterday, which is reflected in the slightly damp coiffure of the various adult birds in the cams.

The hawk nest is behind one of the scoreboards near the athletic fields right on campus, while the heron nest is by a pond on the grounds of the Ornithology lab several miles away from campus (though not far from where I work).

Dead... what the hell is that?

Hard to say at any given moment. If it's hand-sized and raw, it's probably the remains of the pigeon. There was also a sparrow tail in the hawk nest for a while yesterday. Hungry big birds.
posted by aught at 7:00 AM on April 24, 2012


Wow, the great horned owl attack videos trigger some primal terror. That's better than a horror movie.


The Bellman: Ithaca, NY. April 24. 37° F.
Ah, Cornell. How I miss you.


Yesterday morning we woke up to a few inches of heavy wet snow. Tree branches are down all over the place.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 7:05 AM on April 24, 2012


Wow, the great horned owl attack videos trigger some primal terror. That's better than a horror movie.

I did not know herons could make such noises and the grainy night-time imagery certainly lent it a specific mood. Someone commented on the video with 'paranormal eggtivity'.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 7:08 AM on April 24, 2012


the barrage of self-appointed know-it-alls and anthropomorphizing nitwits

But every so often a Cornell person will pop in and answer questions - the same questions, over and over - with superhuman patience and real knowledge.
posted by caryatid at 7:36 AM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yay for nest cams! I stopped on my way to a meeting yesterday to watch the Red-tails nesting on the side of the new Twitter building in San Francisco. I would love to figure out how to convince Twitter to set up a nest cam. It's the controversial new building and still being renovated; I don't think there's anyone working there yet.

For SF folks who want to see it in person, it's on 9th St between Market and Mission, west side of the street. Look up and look for the twigs sticking off a ledge. I saw both adult birds there yesterday.

Do any mefites know someone at Twitter?
posted by gingerbeer at 7:37 AM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks for posting, and reminding me that it's time for one of my regular visits to Ithaca.

The Ornithology lab is a wonderful place... the setting is loaded with birds, and the building well stocked with comfy chairs and spotting scopes. It's a birder's heaven. The on-site resources are great too.

Montezuma Wildlife Refuge is another nearby spot for seeing amazing bird life. Heck, we've even got some pretty impressive avian residents right here in town.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:55 AM on April 24, 2012


About six years ago, I relocated back to my hometown in the tidewater area of Virginia after spending 25 years in DC. Jobwise, it was a boneheaded move, but quality-of-life-wise it was the right decision. I confess that birds played no role in my decision, but I've kinda ended up in a big-bird nirvana. Every day I see great blue herons and egrets and hawks and ospreys and eagles and owls - in my own backyard! It's awesome and it really grows on you. I wish everyone could experience it.

Also, I absolutely cannot watch a great blue heron without conjuring up images of pterodactyls in my imagination. So remember, kids, just say no to drugs.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:58 AM on April 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


That poor hatchling looks like it's getting smothered by its mother's butt.
posted by Melismata at 9:26 AM on April 24, 2012


That poor hatchling looks like it's getting smothered by its mother's butt.

There's a helicopter parents joke in here somewhere.


My usual attitude towards birds is mostly Jack Aubrey-an ("can it be et?"), but man, I am really enjoying these bird cams lately.
posted by elizardbits at 10:40 AM on April 24, 2012


There is a tree near where I live that has eight (eight!) nesting pairs of Great Blue Herons. It is in a spot that's fairly easy to observe (I took Jessamyn there a few weeks ago) and it looks like something out of Jurassic Park.

Benny Andajetz: have you ever heard a heron cry out? I don't know what pterodactyls sounded like, but it had to be just like a heron. That cry triggers my fight-or-flight response, and I'm way too big to be on the menu.
posted by workerant at 10:45 AM on April 24, 2012


Benny Andajetz: have you ever heard a heron cry out? I don't know what pterodactyls sounded like, but it had to be just like a heron. That cry triggers my fight-or-flight response, and I'm way too big to be on the menu.

Oh, yeah. It's a very common sound around here; I get the impression that great blue herons are generally pretty cranky things. (We also have green and night herons around here and they muuuuch quieter.)

Besides looking and sounding like dinosaurs, their hunting technique is pretty spooky, too; they'll stand in the shallows and not move a muscle for what seems like hours. I mean stock still, like statues. Freaks me out.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:21 AM on April 24, 2012


I would really love to see someone put together a Jurassic Park quality cgi video of dinosaurs doing some of these mundane (and not so mundane i.e. the owl attack) bird things. The Discover Channel has tried, but they've always come off as kind of weak. I was watching earth flight the other day and thought just how great it would be if they made that, but, you know, dinosaurs (and on the ground.)
posted by [insert clever name here] at 12:12 PM on April 24, 2012


I wish it were warmer in Ithaca right now. The second hawk is hatching now and momma is sitting on them to keep them warm. The nest is a little Patrick Batemanesque with all the corpses in there.
posted by karlos at 12:14 PM on April 24, 2012


Update: all three hawk chicks have hatched, and two of the five heron eggs are "pipping" (that is, when the chick starts to break through the shell from the inside).
posted by aught at 12:13 PM on April 27, 2012


Two of the herons hatched tonight. Three more to go. One of the eggs was damaged during an owl attack and it hatched tonight. These cams are addictive.
posted by karlos at 8:43 PM on April 27, 2012


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