A lot of animal cams suck. The angle is bad, the lighting is poor, the animal is usually not there, etc. etc. But this puffin cam is actually pretty darn good. When the bird pecks at the camera you want to duck.
It’s from Audubon. Here’s some text from the press release:
Seal Island, Maine – June 27, 2012 – explore.org, the philanthropic media organization and division of the Annenberg Foundation, is expanding its collection of live HD cameras to bring people into the world of the charismatic and much-revered Atlantic Puffin. Through a multiyear partnership with Audubon, spearheaded by pioneering ornithologist Dr. Stephen Kress, nature enthusiasts worldwide now have a virtual front-row seat to observe the daily activities of these magical seabirds on any Internet-connected computer, phone or tablet.
With multiple HD cameras set up at Maine’s Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge, the live-streaming HD video will show puffins as they court, breed, preen and strut about one of New England’s most remote islands. Audubon and explore.org recently launched an intimate live cam view of an Osprey nest on Hog Island, Maine, where three chicks just hatched, and will provide highlights and insights from field researchers on a new co-hosted blog.
With the new Puffin Cams, viewers will be treated to a rare, real-time view into a puffin burrow, where a pair of lifelong partners recently brought the newest member of their family into this world. Another camera provides a view of the “loafing ledge”— a massive boulder where the birds engage in “billing” (a ritual of gentle beak rubbing by courting and long-mated pairs), compete for a favored position on the ledge, and engage in feather preening to enhance their waterproofing.
“The Puffin Cams have a mesmerizing effect that we believe will help people escape the stresses of everyday life and provide a positive benefit that will carry over when they return to their daily obligations,” said Charles Annenberg Weingarten, founder of explore.org and VP of the Annenberg Foundation.
Overhunting and military activity wiped out puffins on Seal Island in the late 1800s, but the birds’ return began in 1984, when Audubon Project Puffin Director and Vice President, Dr. Stephen Kress, began reintroducing puffins from Newfoundland to the island in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Canadian Wildlife Service. Kress also pioneered the use of mirrors, sound recordings and decoys to encourage the relocated puffins to nest. This year, more than 550 pairs are nesting, making this the largest Maine puffin colony and an extraordinary conservation success story. The methods developed here have helped to restore 13 seabird nesting sanctuaries along the Maine coast and have inspired similar projects with at least 49 seabird species in 14 countries.
Maine’s puffins are now protected and studied by a team of scientists and summer interns who live in a tiny cabin and tents from May to August. The loafing ledge is located at Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge, jointly managed by Audubon and the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge.
“We’re excited to give people a window into this wonderful world of seabirds, and we hope to inspire viewers everywhere to take actions that improve the planet for birds and people,” said Dr. Kress.