Back in April someone reminded me about the 'Falcon Cam' on the PG&E building in San Francisco. So for about three weeks I had my small side monitor open to the 'NestCam' and watched as the falcon chicks grew and both mom & dad brought them breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I must say the avian population around a falcon nest really decreases when there are kids to be fed.
These cameras are part of the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group, just one of many such video arrangements to be found all around the world; on the internet of course. You might try one out next spring. It was interesting to watch the progress of the chicks from eggs to fledging. But I found I became much more interested in the people who were watching the falcons.
You see at some point you have questions. When will they fledge? Why do the cameras shift? What are they eating? So I joined the Falcon Forum and discovered rather quickly that there were some really dedicated conservationists involved. I got early notice of the day they were being banded and watched a really interesting inter-species reality show. I also was reminded that human beings can be addicted to nearly anything, including falcon babies.
Then I remembered that you can gain a lot of knowledge hanging out with borderline fanatics. I went to Antarctica in 1980, somewhat before there was actual eco-tourism. My shipmates were either very old and somewhat jaded world travelers or birders. I discovered very quickly that making zodiac landings with the birders meant more information, more adventuresome hikers but lots of overly detailed conversation about he mating habits of plovers. It was a reasonable trade-off, besides the big warm hats filtered out a lot of the conversation.
Note to self - I need to scan that picture I have of me in the penguin colony for the blog.
To-Do List - Go through increasingly large pile of notes to self.