From the comfort of your living room you can watch nature all around the world on webcams, live streams, videos and interactive experiences. Sit back, relax, and dream about your next wildlife holiday with our selection of great online wildlife experiences.
1. Webcam – Royal Albatross Nest in New Zealand
Photo credit: Dennis Buurman, Albatross Encounter New Zealand, Northern Royal Albatross
Northern Royal Albatrosses are only found in New Zealand. Visitors can watch one of the nests live on a wildlife live cam – if there’s no activity then there are plenty of recorded behaviours to see including adults incubating eggs and chicks testing their growing wings. Changes in climate and habitat have caused problems for albatross parents, which are both required to raise a chick successfully. Webcams are important for monitoring nests and maximising breeding success.
To see northern royal albatrosses in the wild, join Wrybill Birding Tours NZ for a three-week trip across the North, South and Stewart Islands. Albatross Encounter offers half-day pelagic birding tours with the opportunity of seeing a northern royal albatross in the open ocean environment.
2. Live Stream – Experience WildEarth SafariLIVE
Photo credit: Lawson’s Birding, Wildlife and Custom Safaris, Kruger National Park
For anyone wanting to go on a virtual safari, WildEarth have African wildlife webcams in the Maasai Mara and Greater Kruger National Park. Visitors can follow the lives of characters including Tingana the leopard and Kakenya the cheetah as the dramas of hunting and raising young unfold in real-time. One of the cameras has been documenting the events of a single waterhole for over 20 years. Watching SafariLIVE is a way to engage with free roaming wildlife and teach children about African animals.
Lawson’s Birding, Wildlife and Custom Safaris offer multi-day safaris in Kruger covering rivers, grassy plains and open savannah.
3. Interactive 360 Videos – Conservation International
Conservation International has helped to protect 2.3 million square miles of land and ocean across the world. To promote the benefits that nature has on people in innovative ways, the organisation has created 360° films where viewers can get an interactive look into wild habitats by panning the camera through reefs in Indonesia and treetop canopies in the Amazon. The films feature indigenous people whose lives revolve around these natural habitats. They are working with Conservation International to conserve and protect them.
To see Amazonian wildlife for yourself, join Manakin Nature Tours on their 14- or 20-day tour around the Colombian Amazon.
4. Instagram – Beaks and Peaks
Photo credit: Beaks and Peaks, Honduras, Resplendent Quetzal
For a bit of colour, look no further than Beaks and Peaks – an ethically minded birding tour company based in Honduras. Beaks and Peaks promotes the diverse wildlife of Honduras by working with local communities and providing an authentic wildlife experience. Their Instagram is full of stunning photography and videos showing intriguing behaviours. Watch a White-necked Jacobin fan his delicate tail or a Lesson’s Motmot trying to get bits of banana off its bill as it feeds.
To get your own photos of the stunning birds of Honduras, join Beaks and Peaks on a Hummingbird Photo Quest and explore a range of habitats.
Many of the tour operators who are members of the Blue Sky Wildlife website are self-isolating but are nevertheless joining in a ♯VirtualBirding movement for your entertainment and inspiration. Follow the link below to the Blue Sky Wildlife YouTube channel where you can watch videos of the wildlife in their areas, including a virtual walk with Sergio Arias along Costa Rica Birding Tour’s own birding trail, and with Martin Kelsey of Birding Extremadura who describes the wide variety of habitats that can be seen from his balcony terrace in mid-west Spain.
5. Live Stream – Earth LIVE Lessons
Biologist and wildlife broadcaster Lizzie Daly decided to make the most of self-isolation by launching Earth LIVE Lessons – a series of short science and nature-based YouTube videos. From 19th March to 6th May, there will be a new video every day from scientists, wildlife filmmakers and conservationists in many different fields, as well as famous faces such as Chris Packham. As schools will be closed for a while, Lizzie wanted to create a platform where children and adults alike can learn about wildlife from home, answering questions such as “How do we gather data about sharks?” and “Can spiders fly?”
6. Instagram – #OceanSchool
As a result of schools being closed and trips being cancelled, wildlife photographer Cristina Mittermeier has come up with #OceanSchool – a way of sharing facts and information about everything to do with the ocean using Instagram. For anyone wanting to read new marine research or learn how to reduce their single-use plastic, follow this hashtag to get daily stories and inspiration. Why is some ice blue? What do walrus eat? Cristina, along with photographer and marine biologist Paul Nicklen – both founders of environmental organisation Sea Legacy – will be answering your questions.
7. Webcam – Living Islands
Photo credit: Steve Race, Yorkshire Coast Nature, Atlantic Puffin
On Alderney, the most northern of the inhabited Channel Islands, there are live webcams recording the antics of a puffin colony. Puffins are well loved by birdwatchers but they can be difficult to see in the wild. Three webcams offer different views and the infrared light reveals nocturnal wildlife if the puffins are absent. This is particularly useful because puffin chicks fledge at night to avoid predators, so viewers can watch the pufflings leave their burrows in the summer.
Yorkshire is also known for its puffins and diverse coastal wildlife. Other species such as arctic skua and sooty shearwater can be seen on Yorkshire Coast Nature’s Seabirds and Whales tour.
8. Webcam – White-tailed eagle nest
Photo credit: Andrei Prodan, Bunica Maria, Romania, White-tailed Eagle
Live webcams are particularly useful for students studying animal behaviour. Observing this White-tailed Eagle nest in Latvia can answer questions such as how long the adults incubate the egg and how long it takes for chicks to fledge. Six young White-tailed Eagles were introduced to the Isle of Wight in 2019 as part of a new release programme. Intriguingly, one of the eagles has since ventured to Oxfordshire while another was seen over Big Ben.
White-tailed Eagles are widespread across Europe. There is the chance to see them on the Danube Delta in Romania.
9. Free online courses – Future Learn
During self-isolation, many people want to continue learning. Future Learn provides the opportunity to work on short courses in a range of subjects, including many free online wildlife courses. Although extras can be purchased, most of the course content is completely free to access. As well as reading articles and watching videos, the courses encourage participants to ask course leaders questions and have discussions with other students. Short courses include upcycling, weather and the ocean, and are designed to educate through storytelling and group engagement. They provide an opportunity to learn something new while connecting with like-minded people.
10. Podcast – Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales
Photo credit: Ruth Miller, Birdwatching Trips Wales, Wood Warbler
Podcasts are a great resource for learning about wildlife conservation. The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales hosts a podcast where each episode focuses on an element of Welsh wildlife in one of the Trust’s reserves, ranging from monitoring harvest mice to managing woodland. As well as sharing the projects that the Trust is involved in – including research from student placements – the podcast discusses future plans for the reserves and why monitoring wildlife is so important.
Birdwatching Trips offer the chance to experience Welsh wildlife on their Best of North Wales Birdwatching Trip. Specialities include Black Grouse, Goshawks and Hawfinches.
11. Facebook – Self-Isolating Bird Club
As a response to so many people having to self-isolate, Chris Packham has launched the Self-Isolating Bird Club – a virtual space for people looking to continue birdwatching from their homes and gardens and sharing their discoveries with other people. Chris will be live streaming most days with challenges and local wildlife to look out for. The group is especially beneficial for older members who have to remain indoors but can still have access to photos and videos taken by other members. Recent posts have included beginner birdwatchers checking the ID of their discoveries and artists sharing their wildlife-inspired creations.
- Why is conserving nature important
- A Guide to Amazon Rainforest Tours in Peru
- 13 Species of Hummingbirds to Spot on a Trip to Central and South America
- A Guide to the Best Wildlife Holidays in Europe
12. Radio – RSPB Birdsong
Kay Mitchell, Somerset Birdwatching Holidays, Bearded Tits
After the huge success of “Let Nature Sing”, which raised awareness of birdsong, the RSPB has launched Birdsong Radio. Listeners can live stream from the website, Spotify or the app as an alternative to accessing birdsong outside. Tuning into Birdsong Radio can provide background for work or study and can be shared with children. To learn what specific birds sound like, there are small sections of audio for each species on the RSPB profile pages.
Somerset Birdwatching Holidays host a two-day Birdsong Tour, which coincides with the start of spring to sample the calls and songs of a range of British species.
Rebecca Gibson is a wildlife writer based in the UK. She is currently studying for an MA in Travel and Nature Writing at Bath Spa University and uses her blog to share her writing and photography and raise awareness of British wildlife.
Originally Published: 6 Apr 2020