Nature videos to inspire, educate and entertain

As an educator, I believe in the power of strong visuals to inspire folks to preserve the natural world. Today’s technology makes it ridiculously easy to make and edit your own videos, so I just knew I had to jump on the bandwagon and get started.

I remember back in the 1980’s as a kid I was fascinated with filmmaking and learned to shoot footage on my Super 8 camera. Editing was a laborious project of actually cutting the film with scissors and joining the slices together with tape, really!
Thankfully we didn’t know how easy it would get decades down the road else I probably would have shot myself in the head! Now I’m using my smartphone, a tripod and external mic (when it doesn’t hamper the moment) and Camtasia Studio for editing.

So below you’ll find a selection of my video projects. Don’t laugh, they will get better!  I’m not trying to be the next David Attenborough, just want to share neat footage of cool wildlife I encounter on my adventures. Enjoy!

The Black-headed Grosbeak

The Black-headed Grosbeak is a handsome bird with a lovely melodious song that I never tire of listening to. In spring these birds return from their wintering grounds in Central America to nest in the western half of North America. We’ve been watching this pair since May as they built their nest in a healthy stand of aspen trees near a gurgling creek. In early June their chicks hatched and they’ve been busy foraging in the nearby forest for insects to feed their four ravenous nestlings.

Courting Alligators in the Everglades

In spring we visited Florida for some bird watching, but became fascinated by the abundance of American Alligators, and were lucky to witness their spring courtship behaviors. You’ve gotta see it to believe it!


A Day in the Life of a Field Biologist

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a field biologist, you may enjoy this story I wrote about my time spent assisting with an endangered bird survey conducted in the Sierra Nevada mountains of northern California. At the Summer Solstice, I joined a team of field ornithologists conducting a survey of the Willow Flycatcher, a small songbird whose numbers have plummeted in the southwestern portion of its range. But the restoration of its willowy wetlands is improving its chances for survival and the biologists are busy documenting its response.

The American Dipper

One might think that John Muir, California’s most treasured naturalist, would count as his favorite bird a mighty condor or a colorful tanager. But no, it’s the American Dipper,  a small, plain bird that most folks would never see unless visiting a stream’s edge in forest-clad mountains.

He is the mountain streams’ own darling, the humming-bird of blooming waters, loving rocky ripple-slopes and sheets of foam as a bee loves flowers, as a lark loves sunshine and meadows. Among all the mountain birds, none has cheered me so much in my lonely wanderings, –none so unfailingly. – John Muir, 1894.

A Mystery Solved on Sanibel Island

When I’m out in nature, it’s as if I’m still a wide-eyed child, noticing everything around me and watching for new and interesting stuff to discover.  We were recently on Sanibel Island in Florida and I found the strangest thing on the ground. Would have loved to take it home but airport security dogs would have smelled it a mile away!

Alaska’s St. Paul Island

One of the most remote places in the world is this island in the middle of the Bering Sea, so remote that the only accommodations were at the airport and the only place to eat was at the Trident Seafood headquarters cafeteria! We were there on the summer solstice and the entire island was thickly blanketed by beautiful blue lupines. It is a famous place for rabid birders to go with its sea cliffs crowded with thousands of breeding seabirds and the beaches covered in sea lions. For me, I hope it’s not a once in a lifetime experience, I dearly would love to return.

To see my tutorial videos about nature sketching go here.

If you are interested in getting into science or wildlife filming, I highly recommend Rob and Jonas’ Filmmaking Tips over at their website, Untamed Science.