I Can Has Cheezburger?

Wildlife Expert Crafted a Beautiful Miniature Living Room For Birds With a Live Stream Camera

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    The little nesting box Kate MacRae built in her English garden has books on the shelf, a potted plant, and even wallpaper imprinted with the most dapper of designs.

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    "You're looking at months of planning and work," MacRae tells MNN. "Over the winter, I tend to come up with a lot of these ideas and do a lot of the builds."

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    But would the intended resident, a blue tit, approve of it all? Would she — or he — make this a real home for the spring? Maybe the wallpaper isn’t quite right, or the book selection not up to snuff.

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    All of these questions consumed MacRae over the winter as she prepared the tiny living room for springtime visitors to her garden in Lichfield, Staffordshire.

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    Then the moment finally came. A blue tit poked a curious head inside.

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    The bird seemed to approve of the decor — with one notable exception. It needed more moss.

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    Lots and lots of moss.

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    So the little bird ducked out, only to return with heap after heap of the stuff. She dumped it all on the living room floor, and, with a great stirring of wings, shaped a little nest — just beside the bookshelf where a tiny statue of a cat looked on her

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    But how do we get to see so much of this surreal and intimate scene?

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    Well, that's thanks to another fixture in MacRae's living room — a high-definition camera that streams constantly to our own living rooms and cubicles. Think of it as Big Brother for bird lovers.

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    “Of course, the wildlife doesn’t know what I’ve created,” MacRae says.

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     "To them it's just either a feeding platform or a feeding station or another nest box. They have no concept of what I'm creating at all. As long as there's feed available or the nest space is a suitable place for them to nest, they don't mind". But that's not the point. She sees those painstakingly crafted environments as the perfect draw for curious humans: "I really do aim to create a platform with which I can capture imaginations — and get an audience who possibly wouldn't normally log in or watch a wildlife camera," she explains. "And then I can use that as a platform to educate people and to encourage them to have an interest in British wildlife. I think if they have an interest, they're more likely to care and they're more likely to do something about it to protect wildlife."


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