November 2019
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postheadericon Who is living in your backyard

Who is living in your backyard? You might be surprised. Anyone who has ever hung a bird feeder from a tree branch has experienced the delight of watching our natural neighbors as they make their daily rounds. People who live in high-rise apartments and condos or in areas where a bird feeder is not possible have been missing this simple pleasure… until now.

A few years ago the introduction of inexpensive “web cams” made it possible for those of us with computers to capture video and share the results with others. More recently, miniature video cameras, some packed with features like color, infra-red night vision and audio, are so small that they can be placed inside a bird house. Imagine watching as the eggs hatch and the young chicks start peeping and demanding food. These cameras come equipped with 100 feet of cord that jacks right into your television. You can forget the binoculars.

Hospital patients, those living in nursing homes, even office workers can now experience the sense of freedom that comes from “being outside”, even when they are shut in.

But, if you think “nature cams” are only for bird watchers, think again. As evening approaches and the birds go to roost a new and more exotic group of neighbors moves in. My nature cam, the Gray Fox Cam is the Winner of an EarthCam’s TOP 10 CAMS Award. Go check it out. You will be amazed at what you might see. My nightly visitors include Gray Fox (we have 3 that visit regularly each night), raccoons, opossums, and the rare Ring-tailed cats. As I write this there are two beautiful bright yellow American Finches, a bright red male Cardinal, a Tufted Titmouse, and a couple of sparrows. During the summer months this same nature cam captures the antics of the hummingbirds and other daytime visitors.

As mankind encroaches upon the habitat of our natural neighbors, it becomes increasingly more important that we act as good neighbors ourselves by learning something about them. Watching them is a good place to start. I can assure you that they are watching us!

WARNING!

Nature cams are addictive. Once yours is up and running you will find yourself pausing frequently during your busy work day to glance at the screen. When you do, your heart rate will slow, your breathing will even out, and you will return to your task more relaxed. If you are currently addicted to adrenalin and high pressure situations, this feeling that “all is well with the world” may be uncomfortable at first, but who knows? You may just come to love it!

If you, like many others, decide to set up your own nature cam, please share it with the world. A lot of people who may not be fortunate enough to have a back yard like yours will thank you. On the other hand, if you do not have a place for a nature cam in your yard, feel free to use mine. That’s what it’s there for.

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