Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Nature Nerd Wednesdays

Welcome to Nature Nerd Wednesdays!  By the middle of the workweek, I know that I'm ready for a pick-me-up, for some inspiration -- and for that reason I decided to post a nature photo or quote each Wednesday.  Perusing works of nature writing and photography helps me reconnect with the calming, refreshing, and inspiring effects of nature, which is something we all can benefit from in the middle of a busy, stressful work week!

Largely due to my abysmal wildlife photography skills, this blog typically focuses more on the flora/landscapes of nature instead of the fauna. However, given that it's baby bird season, and thanks to the availability of wildlife webcams, we're going to change it up for this Nature Nerd Wednesday.

Baby swallows.  Yep, wildlife photographer of the year, right here..
A few weeks ago, on Easter Sunday, the swallows made their annual return to the farm where I keep my horses, and have busily been using mud, horsehair, and hay to build their nests in the barn rafters. It is such a delight to watch the swallows go through their annual routine and to await the sight of those awkward, ugly-but-cute nestlings poking their wobbly heads out of the nests and chirping loudly for their parents to feed them.

In addition to barn swallows, there are plenty of other bird species raising their young this time of year.  If you don't have any birds nesting nearby, fear not: you can get your baby bird "awwww" fix by watching the webcams below:

First up is the Nature Conservancy's Osprey Nest Cam on the Gulf Coast. Here you can see a live video feed of the nest with its three recently-hatched osprey chicks. Just today, I was able to watch mom bring back a fish to feed to her chicks, who were eagerly lined up and waiting for their grub.  And the best part about this Osprey cam?  The parent's names are Josie and Elbert. Check out the live video stream here.

The Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve's Live Heron Cam is located right here in Washington state.  On this webcam, you can watch the adult great blue herons care for their adorable and delightfully awkward chicks, who are often seen playing and moving around in the nest.  Mom and dad are frequently both present, perched on the edge of the nest to keep watch over their babies.  With watchful parents, fuzzy chicks, and a nest resting in the gently-swaying tree branches, this camera truly offers a peaceful scene! Click here to watch the live video stream.

Screenshot of the Padilla Bay Heron Cam.

Just a quick PSA:  keep in mind that this is nesting time for birds, so think twice and check for nests before cutting down trees or trimming limbs on your property this time of year (there was a recent very sad incident in Oakland involving tree trimming, baby herons, and a wood chipper).  Also look out for momma ducks/geese and their babies when you're driving. Near my home, there is a swampy area next to the road where ducks and geese nest, and every year, either the parents and/or babies meet an untimely end thanks to drivers who are going too fast and not paying attention. Lastly, check out these important guidelines from the WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife as to what you should do if you find a baby bird that has fallen from its nest.

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