Watch This Livestream of Birds at a Mini Library and Just Try Not to Smile

published Jun 27, 2020
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Credit: Georgia_Barrett/

At the Bird Library in Virginia, birds (and the occasional squirrel) come and go, leaving with seeds and fruits instead of books. It’s not actually a library, but a bird feeder that anyone can watch on a 24/7 livestream. 

According to librarian Rebecca Flowers, she and woodworker Kevin Cwalina built the bird feeder five years ago after seeing The Piip Show, a popular-but-now-defunct livestream in Norway with the same concept, but set in a cafe. It was their love of nature (and literature) that made them decide to do a similar project.

Over the years, the library has received diverse visitors, including goldfinches, cardinals, nuthatches, and more recently, a rose-breasted grosbeak. Flowers says that one can learn a lot about birds and their unique personalities by simply watching them.

“Mourning doves tend to be ground feeders, so they snack and stay a while. A nuthatch will fly in, grab a seed, and fly out,” she said. “Some of the sparrows have a technique where they eat the food and fling it everywhere, like a dramatic explosion of bird seed. Cardinals can be a little aggressive to other birds—they’re often fighting with sparrows.”

If you’re feeling a bit down by the events of this year, a bit of bird watching (even through video) might help improve your mental health as the activity is both entertaining and calming.

“Watching birds can help provide the thread that stitches the fabric of an increasingly fractured-feeling-world back into something that approximates whole,” said Charles Eldermire of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “To catch a glimpse [of them] or a snippet of a recognizable song can spark excitement during these pandemic days when so much can seem the same.”

You can watch the Bird Library’s livestream on YouTube, and you can also see their archive of photos on their website.