Birding at Home

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.

Podcasts and radio:

·         Alfred – podcasts for and from Shaftesbury, including lots of wildlife stuff, with occasional contributions from the Club’s own Alex Chapman

·         Feedspot - gives you easy access to selected bird podcasts from around the world (mainly USA, but also Australia, S Africa, UK etc)

·         Doset Wildlife Trust Young Journalists Podcast - The Trust has eight fantastic young people (14-17) now trained in journalism skills. They have been producing a series of blogs, social media posts and a podcast on environmental issues that matter to them

·        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

·       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

·       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:

·       Podchaser – a curated podcast list by Suzy Buttress of birding podcasts hosted by women, mainly from USA

·       RSPB Podcasts -

 ·      The Casual Birder Podcast - Have a look at

 ·      The 'Urban Birder' (aka David Lindo) has a series of live 'in conversation with' webinars that you need to sign up for in advance. He interviews top birders and ornithologists from around the world  -

 ·      Tweet of the Day – podcasts of these 2-minute programmes celebrating bird calls and song, narrated by wildlife celebrities, at 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

·       Urban Wilderness By a Place Near You - a new (2022) weekly podcast series by London-based City Girl in Nature aka Kwesia, aiming to get inner city people to engage with the natural world

·       If you're missing foreign travel, and the gorgeous sights and sounds of the tropics, try watching these relaxing videos made by Mike Rose in Thailand  Mike Rose's Thai garden bird sounds and Thai rainforest bird sounds

And check out these videos:

o   Notes on Nightjars - Dorset BTO Youth representative Mya Bambrick presents a series of videos about the Nightjar, based on her university placement with Dorset Nightjars

o   60 second zoology – former Exeter University zoologist Amy Hall’s prizewinning wildlife videos are great fun and educational, often about birds

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 

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

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

o   BTO bird identification videos – loads of informative videos available on their website, from very basic to quite advanced

o   The Rare Breeding Birds Panel now has a YouTube channel. Head to for presentations and recording tips - much more to added in the future.

How about this all-day virtual summit:

Reintroduction and Rewilding Summit, hosted in April 2021 by Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin:

And explore these 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:

Webcams – when you can’t go out you might particularly enjoy seeing live bird action via these webcams:

In Dorset

·       Arne RSPB has webcams, one watching a Barn Owl nest and another at a feeder

·       Birds of Poole Harbour webcams (1 at the Osprey nest, 2 at Brownsea Lagoon and 1 at Holton Lee)

·       Dorset Wildlife Trust Barn Owl camera

·       Hobby nest in Rural Dorset, started streaming 20 June 2022 Hobby LIVE nest camera, Dorset, UK, 2022

      Barn Owl webcam 20 April 2021

Further Afield

 ·      Knepp (West Sussex) - watch the nest of one of the reintroduced White Storks:

 ·      Durban (South Africa) bird feeders - touracos, bulbuls and sunshine when it's wet and windy here:

·       Pretoria (South Africa) bird feeders – some familiar birds here along with South African beauties:

·       Cornell Lab Bird Cams (8 bird cams from northern and central America)

·       Alabama bird feeders – hone your skills on southern US birds here:    

·       Los Angeles Hummingbird feeders – hummers year-round here on the warm west coast:

·       Paton Centre web cams – in the amazing Paton garden in Patagonia, Arizona. Hummingbird activity said to be best in the afternoon (=our late evening):


Featured videos

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:

Pretoria bird feeders

The beauty of the South Africa webcams is that their day is the same as ours, only longer, so on those wet, windy winter days you can soak up the sunshine and soundscape while watching the gorgeous birds at these busy feeders: