Peek Into the Natural World With These Bay Area Wildlife Cameras

Peek Into the Natural World With These Bay Area Wildlife Cameras

In 2020, a viral video captured the unlikely friendship between a coyote and badger as they worked together on a hunt. This video came from Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) and Pathways for Wildlife, who use trail cameras to track wildlife movements around major roadways. 

Devices like these aid ecological research worldwide. With remote cameras, scientists can monitor wildlife populations without disturbing animals. At the same time, we get a glimpse into worlds we rarely see. Step into these wild worlds with photos, videos and live streams from Bay Area ecosystems below.

Featured photo: Bobcat along Olema Creek. Photo by U.S. Geological Survey. 

Marin Mammal Center Nature cam
Photo by Brian Simuro © Marine Mammal Center.

Part of a consortium of research cams nationwide, Sausalito’s Marine Mammal Center and NOAA collaborate on this cam that sits below Point Reyes’ Chimney Rock trail. From December to May, elephant seals usually laze around the beach, but viewers can also watch the Marine Mammal Center release rehabilitated animals live on stream. You can even sign up to get text alerts in advance of releases. 

Cal Falcons Wildlife Camera in Berkeley
Photo by Sean Peterson via Wikimedia.

A pair of the world’s fastest birds enjoy a cult-like following. For years, peregrine falcons have nested at the Campanile clock tower at the University of California, Berkeley. Since the Cal Falcons project began livestreaming the nest in 2019, community members follow dramatic unfoldings of falcon love, death, courtship and first flights every year.

Photographer and videographer Dave Kent keeps a thorough record of trail camera footage from San Mateo County. His Youtube channel features intimate videos of bobcats, sparring deer, hunting hawks and much more. Even better, Kent keeps an organized playlist of his Bay Area trail cameras, so you can watch these short videos back to back to back. Well done, Dave! 

The Bay Area Puma Project (BAPP) hands-off field cameras to research mountain lions with the goal of improving human relations with the apex predator. Browse through their impressive library of puma images on

Camera atop Farallones Nature Cam by Cal Academy
Photo by Tim Pozar.

Lounging sea lions, circling sea birds and bursting whale spouts fill the California Academy of Science’s live stream from Southeast Farallon Island. Viewers can even point the webcam into any one of 21 points of view, directing the camera to see foggy vistas of Sutro Tower, the Pacific ocean or secluded coves. 

Another bird nest cam, this stream overlooks the bay from the Richmond Shipyards. Ospreys, or “sea hawks,” have nested atop this 75-foot-tall crane for almost 15 years. Visitors like raccoons and kingfishers also make appearances, though the ospreys generally don’t tolerate guests. 

Sea lions lounge at docks on PIER 39
Photo courtesy of PIER 39.

Do these sea lions count as wildlife? On the floating docks at Pier 39, the sea dogs are more like pets. Viewers can also glimpse tourists admiring the bay from the pier. 

Sparrow and towhee in Northern California, captured on Bird Buddy backyard nature cam

Employees here at Local Getaways have gotten a kick out of the backyard bird cam from Bird Buddy. If you’re already feeding wild birds but don’t have a Bird Buddy, then you’re missing out on glamor shots of our feathered friends. 

Coyote captured by wildlife camera
Coyote pup on Mt. Tam. Photo by Marin Wildlife Watch / One Tam.

Local Park Wildlife Watches

Like POST, which captured the adorable coyote-badger partnership, park agencies around the Bay Area use motion-activated wildlife cams to monitor ecosystems’ health. These projects rarely keep open libraries of their images, but they do periodically release images and videos. 

Here are some highlights from around the Bay Area: 

Bottom line: animals are funny. Who knew? Taking goofy pictures of birds and deer raises awareness about their ecosystems, generating research to protect the environment. Interested citizen scientists can reach out to their local parks agency to inquire about any need for volunteers. And of course, if you’re looking for a pick-me-up, these nature cams have your back. 

Looking for more things to do in the area?

Visit our What to Do in Northern California page!

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