Whatever the weather, and whether you are locked down, recuperating, grounded for bad behaviour, nursing a hangover or just don’t feel like going out – no matter! You can still enjoy birding from the comfort of your home. Here are a few things you can explore, armed only with a laptop or mobile phone.
BTO Garden Birdwatch – BTO normally charge £17 a year to participate in this but during lockdown you can join this community for free, and contribute to this massive year-round survey that’s been running since 1995. https://www.bto.org/our-science/projects/gbw
Podcasts and radio:
· Alfred – podcasts for and from Shaftesbury, including lots of wildlife stuff, with occasional contributions from the Club’s own Alex Chapman https://thisisalfred.com/?s=birds
· Feedspot - gives you easy access to selected bird podcasts from around the world (mainly USA, but also Australia, S Africa, UK etc) https://blog.feedspot.com/bird_podcasts/
· Get Birding – a series of lockdown podcasts hosted by young ornithologist and conservationist Dr Mya-Rose Craig. In each episode, Mya-Rose is joined by a celebrity birdwatcher co-host to share their passion and knowledge. An entertaining, cross-generational series is aimed at beginners, families and diverse audiences living in both cities and countryside making birdwatching accessible to all Get Birding (on Twitter) or https://shows.acast.com/get-birding
· Into the Wild: The Podcast – independent podcasts about wildlife and nature hosted by Ryan Dalton. You have to subscribe to listen - £3 +VAT per month https://www.patreon.com/intothewildpodcast
· Living World – podcasts of these Radio 4 programmes are available. This 2013 episode is on Godwits in the Avon Valley; from there you can navigate to other episodes: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09jby2f
· Podchaser – a curated podcast list by Suzy Buttress of birding podcasts hosted by women, mainly from USA https://www.podchaser.com/lists/birding-podcasts-hosted-by-women-107a9EMvW2
· The Casual Birder Podcast - Have a look at https://casualbirderpod.libsyn.com/
· Tweet of the Day – podcasts of these 2-minute programmes celebrating bird calls and song, narrated by wildlife celebrities, at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/2KJF0dgnK3YkrRMqQRQVJZ6/podcasts Listen live on Radio 4 weekdays at 05:58 and Sundays at 08:58.
· Twitter - Many bird-related podcasts are available via twitter, such as
And check out these videos:
o 60 second zoology – Exeter University zoologist Amy Hall’s prizewinning wildlife videos are great fun and educational, often about birds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFPH8yoaaE4
o Ben Jordans' Birdwatching Documentary - An excellent 8-minute YouTube video in which he interviews leaders from several UK Bird Clubs (including our very own George Green) about birdwatching, birds and birders, touching on many relevant topics including the pandemic lockdown, diversity among birders, nature-friendly farming and rewilding. Well worth a watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMqaueiIbl8
o Birds of Poole Harbour - Osprey Season 2021: brilliant, educational, informative and often amusing short video showing highlights of the season, with lots of footage from their nest webcam https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIbk8mq4NJk
o Birdsong Lessons with Lucy Lapwing – Self-confessed nature nerd provides an engaging series of short videos to help beginners learn common bird songs. Now is absolutely the best time to learn them, as she says https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DruNGZN4X44&t=411s
o BTO bird identification videos – loads of informative videos available on their website, from very basic to quite advanced https://www.bto.org/develop-your-skills/bird-identification/videos
o The Rare Breeding Birds Panel now has a YouTube channel! Head to https://t.co/sufQnRWgez for presentations and recording tips - much more to added in the future.
Here's a lovely hour-long video film transporting you to spring in the eastern USA: Birders: The Central Park Effect
How about this all-day virtual summit:
Reintroduction and Rewilding Summit, hosted in April 2021 by Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2ABYuhvx6Q
And explore these:
Self-isolating Bird Club – hatched during the first lockdown and hosted by Chris Packham, this family-friendly group is a “virtual space for wildlife watchers and enthusiasts alike to share their pictures and videos of wildlife” https://www.facebook.com/groups/sibirdclub UPDATE: The Self-isolating Bird Club ceased on 23 May 2021 after 91 broadcasts, which are still available oline.
Web-books – Much of the Sound Approach library (courtesy of Dorset’s own Mark Constantine) is available on line for free. Fantastic books Catching the Bug, Petrels Night and Day, The Sound Approach to Birding, Undiscovered Owls – all there to browse, read, devour and savour: https://soundapproach.co.uk/web-books/
Webcams – when you can’t go out you might particularly enjoy seeing live bird action via these webcams:
· Birds of Poole Harbour webcams (2 at Brownsea Lagoon, 1 at Holton Lee) https://www.birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk/webcam/
· Birds of Poole Harbour Osprey camera https://www.birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk/osprey/osprey-webcams/
· Dorset Wildlife Trust Barn Owl camera https://www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlifewebcam
Barn Owl webcam 20 April 2021
· Cornell Lab Bird Cams (15 bird cams all over the world. The sun is always shining somewhere!) https://www.allaboutbirds.org/cams/
· Alabama bird feeders – hone your skills on southern US birds here: https://www.webcamtaxi.com/en/usa/alabama/birmingham-bird-feeder.html
· Pretoria bird feeders – some familiar birds here along with South African beauties: https://www.webcamtaxi.com/en/south-africa/gauteng/pretoria-allenbird-cam.html
· Los Angeles Hummingbird feeders – hummers year-round here on the warm west coast:https://www.webcamtaxi.com/en/usa/california/hummingbird-feeders.html
· Paton Centre web cams – in the amazing Paton garden in Patagonia, Arizona. Hummingbird activity said to be best in the afternoon (=our late evening): https://tucsonaudubon.org/go-birding/tucson-audubons-paton-center-for-hummingbirds/paton-center-web-cams/
Birds of Poole Harbour: Osprey Season 2021
Fabulous highlights from the nest webcam showing the female CJ7 returning to the nest - will she find a mate?? Also footage of the translocated youngsters, and other birds get a look-in too, including Nightjars and a particularly naughty Raven. The whole season condensed into 10 minutes.
Reintroduction and Rewilding Summit, an all-day event hosted in April 2021 by Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2ABYuhvx6Q