5 Colorado animal cameras to keep you entertained when the world starts crushing in

5 Colorado animal cameras to keep you entertained when the world starts crushing in

In mid-February, Xcel Energy had some exciting news.

It had nothing to do with a clean energy program, or finding a new power source. But it was worth a  giant headline on one of the company’s Web pages: “Three eggs in the nest! The waiting begins.”

The bald eagles at the company’s St. Vrain station in Platteville laid an egg, appropriately, just a few hours before the official start of Valentine’s Day.

Now, viewers can flock (sorry) to the company’s webcam to watch the parents hatch their eggs, raise the young that emerge from them and, eventually, start all over again next year.

Webcams like the one at Xcel give us a way to see nature up-close, sort of like a reality show without the hot tubs or attitudes. And there are many to choose from. We’ve put together a list of some of the best nature cams in Colorado, including the eagle cam, which will be one of the best to view in the next few months.

1. Xcel Energy Eagle Cam

The Fort St. Vrain Station has two video cameras active from late January, when the eagles began to renovate their nest, through July. The nest went online in 2003. Since then, 35 eaglets have hatched at the nest, according to Raptor Resource Project, a non-profit that tracks the nest for Xcel. The eggs laid in February should hatch in late March or early April, and the young fledge in June, according to Xcel’s website. The cam shows the nest, located in a cottonwood on the banks of the St. Vrain River near Platteville.

The company also has an owl nest cam at the Fort St. Vrain station. Their nesting schedule is similar to the eagles’, and it runs from January to May, according to the website. There’s a cam for a kestrel nest located in Brush on Xcel’s page as well.

If you really want to geek out over the raptors, there’s a forum where you can chat with other bird watchers on Xcel’s bird cam site.

Where to go: www.raptorresource.org, birdcam.xcelenergy.com

2. Bobcat Ridge Natural Area Wildlife Camera Project

In 2009, the city of Fort Collins teamed up with the Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy and Colorado State University graduate students Bonnie Greenwood and Tory Wilson to set eight cameras at the popular Bobcat Ridge Natural Area for a research project to study how recreationists affect animal behavior and also how animals travel in the area.

[related]

The four cameras placed on a trail showed that wildlife do, in fact, use man-made trails, even prefer them, but only when humans aren’t around.

The Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy maintains the cameras while the city monitors the wildlife photos and one video, according to the city’s website. Fort Collins has an impressive collection you can view.

Fort Collins’ natural areas department learned a lot about the diversity of wildlife that roams in the area from the cameras, said Sue Kenney, the department’s education guru. Among the animals captured were red fox, bobcats, mountain lions, black bears, coyotes, bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, skunk, wild turkeys and many raptors.

The cameras are designed to go off every 30 seconds when there’s movement in the area.

“Sometimes we get 1,000 pictures of grass waving,” Kenney said. “But there are times we will get some pretty great shots as well.”

Where to go: View a selection of  the best photos every month at fcgov.com/naturalareas/wildlife-camera

3. Boulder County’s Osprey nest

Boulder County has a video camera set up to catch wildlife — which should not be a surprise to anyone who knows Boulder.

The city installed the camera in 2012 so the public could view a pair of osprey at the Boulder County Fairgrounds. The site hosts an active chat that should be up and running in March, about a month before the birds return, according to the county’s website devoted to the video camera. While you can view the nest now, don’t get too attached: Osprey chicks have a 50 percent chance of surviving the first year, according to the website.

Where to go: bouldercounty.org/open-space/management/osprey-camera

4. The Highlands Ranch Community Association

The Highlands Ranch Community Association Facebook page posts photos from its wildlife photo cam on #trailcamtuesday. The page is designed to drive the mission of the Highlands Ranch Association Backcountry Wilderness Area’s education and wilderness fund, which attempts to improve wildlife habitat, inspire a new generation of nature stewards and inspire a love of nature. The page showed pictures of a critter on Feb. 26 and asked readers if they could identify it.

Where to go: facebook.com/HRCABackcountry

5. Chipmunk Log

This camera lets you see wildlife that inhabit a log on a mountain ridge in Lake Dillon. Keep an eye out for three species of chipmunks and two species of squirrels that live there as well as other animals that stop by, including fox, deer, bear, antelope and many different bird species. It was established in July 2014 by explore.org, a multimedia organization that documents and gives an insider’s view to causes around the world, including many that preserve or save animals, according to the website. The growing library consists of more than 250 original films and 30,000 photographers from around the world.

Where to go: explore.org/livecams/forest/chipmunk-log

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get outdoor news sent straight to your inbox.

7
Like
Save

Comments

Write a comment

*