Calm your frazzled nerves by bird watching.
Bird watching and contact with nature can reduce anxiety and stress and shouldn’t present threats of exposure to the coronavirus. Watching birds instead of TV has a calming effect and is fun for all ages.
The National Audubon Society says that more than a billion migratory birds are currently on their way north from Central and South America, and breeding season is in full swing. If you have a park nearby, or a back yard, there will be a lot of bird activity to see, and the activity will continue into the summer. Birding is easy to do while ‘social distancing’. Audubon has a free app for bird watching.
Download the eBird app so you can track your sightings. eBird is ‘the largest biodiversity-related citizen-science program’ in the world. You can locate your region and see what birds have been recently sighted. It is managed by the Cormell Lab of Ornithology. It makes birding a fun family activity. Click here for an article on How to Use eBird.
If you have a yard and a bird feeder, don’t forget to order bird food and keep your feeders clean. Wild Birds Unlimited has a good selection of bird food and feeders.
If the weather is bad, or you don’t want to venture out even to a park, virtual bird watching is available on many live streaming videos across the country. On Explore.org you can watch live eagle nests and 41 other live bird videos. I found just listening to bird chirping on one of the live bird sites was calming. You can also find lesson plans for students on the explore.org website. Click on the Education tab.
New Zealand Dept. of Conservation Royal Albatross live cam is a 24-hour live stream of a Royal Albatross nest during the breeding season on New Zealand’s South Island. Right now there is a baby in the nest!
Canopy Lodge in Panama’s El Valle de Anton sits in the crater of an extinct volcano and is a site for amazing birding. The live webcam captures Panama Fruit Feeders. It is most active in the morning.
Other Birding Resources:
ABA Code of Birding – ‘How to practice and promote respectful, enjoyable and thoughtful birding’.
Try virtual bird watching using Google Street View.
When you get really good, play a game called Wingspan.
Choosing a pair of binoculars.
Listen to a bird symphony. It’s amazing!
Check out ASE’s earlier article about birding.
Watch this cute documentary about a pelican that lands on the Golden Gate Bridge and stops traffic. It follows the pelican through the rescue and rehabilitation over two years.