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How to Make Lockdown Life a Little Easier, Courtesy of Birds

tricolored heron silhouetted against sunrise by Dorian Anderson/Macaulay Library
Tricolored Heron by Dorian Anderson/Macaulay Library

Update 2021: We wrote this post back in March 2020, when we were all just dipping our toes into the idea of life under the Covid-19 pandemic. In the meantime, thousands of people have made countless creative adjustments to live a socially distanced lifestyle. During that time, birds have brought both solace and connection to longtime birdwatchers and new practitioners alike. As we pass the one-year mark—and begin to look toward resuming a more normal life—we hope you’ll find these resources as relevant and useful now as they were a year ago.

This fight against coronavirus is serious and sobering. As we take it on, collectively, the only certainty seems to be that we’ll all be homebound for the next few weeks and months. At least we still have the outdoors as refuge and respite.

That’s not to diminish or deny what’s happening in any way—everyone is spending every moment to ensure loved ones are healthy and friends and coworkers safe. But during this time, when you can, let birds soothe you. When you’re ready for a moment of beauty, or a child needs something new to focus on, bring birds’ innate joy and hope into your life.

Are you a teacher prepping for a new kind of remote class? We’ll send you ideas. A grownup with kids on an unexpected “vacation”? Let them play games and learn. A casual birdwatcher with time on your hands—or an inveterate traveler finding yourself homebound? We can bring birds and bird song into your home—or let you explore the farthest reaches of the world in sounds and images. Read on for all our suggestions, and make things a little #BetterWithBirds:

Watch a nestbound Barred Owl sing who-cooks-for you and hear the answer from its mate on one of our most popular Bird Cams.
A Ruffed Grouse primps and poses for the camera at a snowy Ontario FeederWatch cam.

Live Cams: Bring the Birds to You

Stream one of our Bird Cams for peace, beauty, and intimacy with wild creatures. Many of our users keep a cam streaming all day long just for the calming outdoor sounds that filter in.

Or watch a rotating cast of birds at our feeder cams:

Backyards: Still the Best Places to Go Birdwatching

Backyard Birding Resources

One of the delights of birdwatching has always been that you can do it anywhere—including right at home. Take a quiet walk or enjoy a moment of reflection at your window: birds will be with you. Now is a great time to deepen your knowledge and appreciation with resources like these:

Virtual Birding: Around the World with Videos, Quizzes, and Sounds

Travel the World

Things to Do: Teachers and Families, We’ve Got You

For Teachers and Families

We can help teachers and parents make the shift to online and at-home learning, with free resources and good ideas to keep students interested. In fact, our K–12 Education group has created a special weekly email full of science- and nature-focused ideas and activities for the duration. Click the link to sign up for the email, and get a fresh batch of new ideas each Friday.

Our Bird Academy project has a catalog of free learning games—amazing explorations of bird song, breathtaking artwork of bird families, the magic of feathers, and more. There’s even a video game that explores evolution and the hypnotic BeastBox, where you can use natural sounds to create your own hip-hop sound loops.

Bird Academy has a full set of deeper courses, from better birding tips to nature journaling to a full-scale ornithology course—and you can test drive each of them with a free lesson.

The Cornell Lab

All About Birds
is a free resource

Available for everyone,
funded by donors like you

American Kestrel by Blair Dudeck / Macaulay Library