Canadian common loons threatened by pollution

This video from the Adirondacks in the USA says about itself:

Voices: Common Loon

Experience the quintessential sound of the North Woods as described by Macaulay Library Audio Curator, Greg Budney.

From BirdLife:

Pollutants Threaten Iconic Canadian Bird

Tue, Jul 9, 2013

The future looks uncertain for one of the most beloved symbols of the Canadian wilderness, according to a new report from Bird Studies Canada (BirdLife co-Partner in Canada). The Canadian Lakes Loon Survey 1981-2012 reveals troubling trends for the Common Loon. Pollution (in the form of mercury and acid precipitation) is the suspected cause.

Currently Common Loon pairs are successfully producing enough chicks to maintain a stable population. Unfortunately, Bird Studies Canada’s research shows that their reproductive success (defined as the annual number of young raised to six weeks of age) has significantly declined since 1992. And the trends indicate that even worse news may be around the corner. If the current rate of decline continues, Common Loon numbers are expected to begin decreasing within two decades.

“We are approaching the tipping point. Annual reproductive success may soon drop below the minimum level required for these birds to sustain their numbers,” says Bird Studies Canada scientist Dr. Doug Tozer, the lead author of the report. “Because 95% of the world’s Common Loons breed in our country, Canadians have a critical role to play in monitoring and conserving loon populations.”

Mercury and acid precipitation affect lake health and directly impair loon reproductive success. The burning of fossil fuels (e.g., in cars and at coal-fired power plants) causes mercury and acid emissions. From the air, these pollutants make their way into lakes. Common Loons’ high position in the food chain makes them powerful indicators of lake health and especially pollution levels.

Higher mercury levels make loons slower, and affect their behaviour. Adults with higher mercury spend less time collecting food for chicks and defending breeding territories. Chicks have compromised immune systems and are less able to avoid predators. Meanwhile on lakes with higher acidity, fish are less abundant and loons produce fewer young.

Individuals can make a difference by supporting loon and lake research and conservation, and participating in Bird Studies Canada’s Citizen Science programs. The results also support further action to reduce harmful emissions from combustion of fossil fuels.

Findings are based on three decades of research by Bird Studies Canada scientists and volunteer surveyors. Over 3000 Citizen Scientists and Bird Studies Canada members contributed their time, data, and support to make this research possible. More detailed analysis can be found in the paper Common Loon Reproductive Success in Canada, published this spring in Avian Conservation & Ecology.

Bird Studies Canada’s Canadian Lakes Loon Survey program has been tracking Common Loon reproductive success at the national level for 20 years (and for 32 years in Ontario). Bird Studies Canada advances the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of wild birds and their habitats. BSC is Canada’s national charity for bird research and conservation.

The loon (Minnesota’s state bird) is the best of all birds. Here’s why.

Last Cornell young red-tailed hawk fledges

This video from the USA says about itself:

Last Nestling Fledges from Cornell Hawks Nest!

June 13, 2013

After carefully considering the drop for the last few days, the third nestling from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology‘s Red-tailed Hawk (nicknamed “D3″) nest opened its wings and took flight at 8:07 P.M. on June 12, 2013.

The Cornell Lab writes about this video:

On June 13, the last Red-tailed Hawk nestling (nicknamed “D3″) remaining in the nest chose the last hour of evening light to take its first flight, launching purposefully into the air and disappearing from the camera’s view (watch the highlight). It took D3 a full week longer than its nestmates to take its first flight, and kept many viewers’ hearts fluttering as it flapped around the platform in the days leading up to fledging.

American kestrels, ospreys hatching on the Internet

This video is about American kestrels at a nestbox.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

Bird Cams eNews Flash: Ospreys and kestrels are hatching!

The Dunrovin Osprey pair began hatching their first egg yesterday morning! A pip has appeared in a second egg, suggesting a second egg hatching is also imminent. This is a great step forward for this pair, as last year neither of their eggs hatched and eventually the nest was abandoned. Watch the Dunrovin Ospreys. Meanwhile, the other Osprey pair at Hellgate Canyon are incubating two eggs, and we expect them to start hatching in another 2-3 weeks.

During a busy Memorial Day Weekend, an American Kestrel egg was also beginning to hatch. The first nestling emerged Monday evening into the snug confines of its nest box. A second egg hatched the following morning and the two downy white nestlings are surrounded by three more eggs, giving plenty of opportunities to see them hatch live over the next few days.

Both of these nests will be consumed with activity over the coming weeks as the adults feed their growing broods. While you’re waiting for views of the young kestrels and Ospreys, you can also check out our Red-tailed Hawk cam  as they near their first flight (expected during the first week of June), as well as the active and growing nestlings on our Great Blue Heron cam.

We’ll continue to post updates on the Bird Cams Facebook page and on twitter at @birdcams. Thank you for watching.


Charles Eldermire
Bird Cams Project Leader

Victoria Campbell
Bird Cams Communication Specialist

Cornell great blue heron eggs are hatching

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

Cornell Herons are hatching!

The first chick hatched out today as thousands watched live.

Bird Cams News Flash: Herons are hatching!

The Great Blue Herons in Sapsucker Woods have hatched their first egg! A small, damp nestling emerged from its egg at 2:05 P.M. while thousands of viewers watched and shared in the excitement. We expect that the next few days will see the other four eggs hatch as well, so don’t miss your chance to watch more new herons enter the world. Watch heron cam now.

The next eight weeks will be a blur of action as the parents try to keep up with the nestlings’ ravenous appetites and the youngsters clamor for attention and space. While you’re waiting for views of the young herons, you can also check out our Red-tailed Hawk cam  as they near their first flight (expected during the first week of June), as well as incubating Ospreys and kestrels thanks to our cam partners. We’ll continue to post updates on the Bird Cams Facebook page and on twitter at @birdcams. Thank you for watching.


Charles Eldermire
Bird Cams Project Leader

Victoria Campbell
Bird Cams Communication Specialist

Strange birds’ nests contest

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA writes about the subject of this video:

Funky Nests Contest

Whether you find a robin‘s nest on a park statue or a hummingbird‘s nest on your wind chimes, your picture of a bird nest in a funky place can win big in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Funky Nests in Funky Places contest. With nesting season underway, this contest challenges everyone to get outside and watch nature in even the most unexpected places.

“Just start looking,” says Karen Purcell, who created the contest several years ago as part of the Cornell Lab’s Celebrate Urban Birds citizen-science project. “Past experience has shown us you can find bird nests in the most surprising places. We’ve seen them in helmets, old boots, stoplights, store signs, car tires, clotheslines, mailboxes, potted plants, and even a stuffed moose head!”

The Funky Nests contest began May 1 and lasts until June 15. Entries may be photos, videos, artwork, poems, or stories. You don’t have to be a bird expert or an expert photographer. People of all ages are welcome to participate as individuals or with a class, community center, or afterschool program. Prizes include binoculars, bird feeders, cameras, an iPad, and more.

…  visit to enter the contest. Entry deadline is June 15.

Birds’ Mother’s Day

This video from the USA says about itself:

Female Killdeer bird with chicks and egg. Notice the egg on the right moving, it is actually in the process of hatching. No birds or eggs were harmed in the filming of this clip!!!

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

Best Maternal Moments Captured Live

In honor of Mother’s Day, we want to celebrate some exceptional bird “moms” that go the extra mile for their chicks. Watch these intimate moments in the lives of three Bird Cams mothers, each revealing the universal struggles and joys of motherhood. Then, tune in to see what’s happening live on Bird Cams.

  • Dinner is Served—Big Red, the fierce Red-tailed Hawk mom, delicately serves up dinner with her powerful beak. When she leaves to get more provisions, the nestlings fall asleep in a warm pile and wait for her to return.
  • Protecting the Nest—The formidable Great Blue Heron mom bravely defends her nest from an owl attack. Her bone-chilling screams scare the owl away and quickly bring the male to her side.
  • Giving Them Wings to Fly—That moment when your kids are grown and have to make their own way in the world is terrifying, but necessary. Iris, the Osprey mom at Hellgate Canyon, Montana, looks on anxiously as her oldest chick leaves the nest for the first time.

Do you have an “aww” moment captured in a photo or on video? Submit your photos and videos to our Flickr group.

Special bird photo: here.

Britain failed to make the top 20 in a list of the best places to be a mother today, falling behind other European countries such as Germany and France: here.

American hawk, heron, other nest webcams update

This video from the USA says about itself:

In the early morning hours of Monday April 22, two of the [red-tailed] hawk eggs hatched. Even before the young were out of their shells, Big Red and Ezra started bringing food to the nest. In this video, Big Red delicately feeds their young by tearing the prey into small pieces, giving the hatchlings just a little bit at a time. The hawks appear to be bringing a range of prey for the young; birds, snakes and rodents. In this video the young are just over a day old and are being fed what looks like a small rodent.

To watch the hawks live, go to

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Three Fuzzy Chicks in the Hawk Nest

Viewers of the Cornell Hawks cam can tune in to see Big Red and Ezra feeding three bobbly headed, downy-white chicks. The first two hatched early morning on Monday, Earth Day, as thousands of people watched. The third youngster entered the world two days later. Big Red and Ezra have been busily provisioning them with chipmunks, starlings, snakes, and other prey, which they carefully tear into small pieces before giving to the nestlings (watch a video). The first nestling’s official hatch time was 6:06 a.m. on Monday, April 22, and we have contacted the winner in the Guess the Hatch contest.  Watch the nestlings live.

Concerned about the nestlings? Over the next few days you may see the nestlings pecking at each other. Don’t be alarmed—as long as there is a steady supply of food this behavior usually dissipates without harming the chicks in about 7–10 days.

Heron chicks on the way! Not to be overlooked, the Great Blue Herons outside our office laid their fifth egg this week. Keep an eye out

Iris on the nest at the Hellgate Cam

Osprey and Kestrel Cams Return

If herons and hawks aren’t enough to sate your cams appetite, we’re happy to announce the return of two Osprey cams from Project Osprey (in Hellgate Canyon and at the Dunrovin Guest Ranch, in western Montana) and an American Kestrel cam from The Peregrine Fund in Idaho. The Dunrovin Ospreys and the kestrels are sitting on eggs. A female at the Hellgate Osprey nest is still waiting for a male to join her.

American red-tailed hawk and heron nest webcam update

This video from the USA says about itself:

May 16, 2010

This is a video chronicle of a Red-Tailed Hawk chick from one to six weeks, after hatching in its nest high in a Saguaro cactus. It has all been condensed into an sub eleven minute video with other wildlife scenes mixed in. I do very little talking during this video and try to let the pictures speak for themselves.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

Bird Cams News Flash: Hawk hatch has begun!

We’re excited to share the news with you that the first egg in the CornellHawks nest has begun pipping! Earlier today a small hole was seen forming and there is a high likelihood of seeing a new downy nestling enter the world over the next 24 hours. “Pipping” refers to the process of the chick initially breaking through the shell, using a hard projection on its bill called the egg tooth. The resulting hole is the “pip” that the chick then enlarges to finish hatching. The hatch follows 38 days of stalwart incubation by Big Red and Ezra in often windy and rainy conditions (check out some highlights on YouTube).

Don’t miss your chance to see the young hawk emerge and share your excitement with the cams community at As if hatching hawks aren’t enough to keep you busy, be sure to also check out the Great Blue Heron cam ( where last night a fourth egg was laid during the darkness of night.

We’ll continue to post updates on the Bird Cams Facebook page ( and on twitter at @birdcams. Thank you for watching!


Charles Eldermire
Bird Cams Project Leader

Victoria Campbell
Bird Cams Communication Specialist