The baby geese have just appeared at CritterVisionwhich makes things a little tricky for the squirrels. On HootHouseLivestreamMother Hootie’s wings are full of fast-growing babies Dax, Jin, San, and Fiz. Speaking of babies, a new litter has just arrived Adorable_Kittens. I’ve become a Twitch green power enthusiast in the last month, a very happy and centered compulsive wildlife watcher.
I didn’t see much of Twitch – including gaming Twitch – until last month when KotakuNathan Grayson wrote about that Stopsigncam phenomenon. The idea of people looking for drivers to obey the law intrigued me, and after watching this nonsense for a few hours, I began to wonder what other fun distractions lurked on the outskirts of Twitch. That’s where I found CritterVision.
CritterVision founders Chris and Jane have been feeding what others might call “pesky animals” from their backyard in South Carolina for nearly two decades. They started live streaming in mid-2019. During the day, their various bird feeders are visited by hungry squirrels and geese, the latter of which have just started bringing their newly hatched babies to the buffet. As soon as the sun goes down, night vision kicks in and another type of party begins.
At night CritterVision becomes the raccoon and deer headquarters. Herds of both creatures often feast on the various boxes and bowls that are filled twice a day with corn, fruit, nuts and other animal-friendly foods. Two bowls to the back are usually filled with peanut butter, a favorite of another nighttime visitor, the sleek and always well-groomed opossum.
There are other, less regular visitors. I’ve seen vultures hanging around with various other birds. The neighborhood cats come by every now and then. Over on that CritterVision’s YouTube channelYou can watch a brief cameo of a 10 foot alligator friend waddling around at night.
Like all of the Animal Twitch streams I attend, CritterVision has a nice little community that keeps a close eye on animal life. They chase certain animals, like the possums and raccoons, who stop by to stock up on nibbles while their babies are napping. They are also big fans of Gary, the stoneware frog with the always surprised expression who serves as the stream’s mascot and is often in stock in the merch store (Yes, I have one). It’s an excellent place to relax and not a bad creek if you fall asleep at night.
As I started watching a lot of CritterVision, my recommended channels filled with interesting animals. I started watching streams like DashDucks and OurChickenLife, a pair of multi-camera channels where subscribers can not only watch hordes of chuckling and quacking farm fowl, but also feed them. Both streams have set up automatic treat dispensers that are activated when a participant cheers with Twitch bits. The birds seem to love it.
These birds led me to HootHouse, a 24-hour camera set up in an owl nesting box in California that has been calling a couple of barn owls, Mama Hootie and Papa Winkler, at home since late 2019. By the time I started looking back in March of this year, Hootie had just started hatching and was raising her third batch of horribly cute owl babies. Over the course of a few weeks, I’ve watched the four pups grow straight out of tiny, featherless nightmares The dark crystal in plump and fluffy bird balls.
To be honest, I kind of fell in love with her. I’m a little worried about the babies Dax, Jin, San, and Fiz. Since it’s a straight forward nature camera with no human intervention, it’s not always pretty. Only four out of eight of Hootie’s first brood survived to leave the crate. The second brood fared worse, only three out of eight survived. I hope all four newer babies can make it, but you never know.
A disclaimer about HootHouse other than falling in love and possibly getting knocked down. If you are a big fan of mice and rabbits, the discretion of the viewer is recommended. Hootie is a rodent murder machine, and the other day Baby Dax did a real act on a bunny. If that notion bothers you, maybe you’re sticking to something healthier and sweeter like Adorable_Kittens.
Adorable_Kittens does what it says it is, pouring tiny kittens and soothing music from morning to night. The creek is operated by a breeder of Scottish Fold and British kittens Operation from Orlando, Florida
While I couldn’t imagine ever spending money on a cat with a proper pedigree, with so many rescue cats waiting for their humans in shelters across the country, I have no problem watching these expensive babies grow, cuddle, feed, and wrestle . I’m especially attached to one of the stream’s mom-cats who looks so dumb that I want to hug her all day.
It wasn’t until this morning that I tuned in to Adorable_Kittens to find out that the brood I’d been watching for weeks had moved on, and now a new crowd of kittens was the main event. I’ve only been watching this new five-kitten crew for about an hour, but I’m already looking for the orange and black siblings of the mostly white litter.
Why am I so drawn to animal streams on Twitch? For one thing, nobody speaks. I don’t have to worry about a host trying to be funny. There is no human drama, and in general only minimal animal drama. The humble communities that have formed around these types of currents are generally kind, respectful, and sincerely curious about things like animal behavior and dietary habits.
Plus, I don’t go outside very often since I was paralyzed in 2018, and streams like HootHouse and CritterVision feel like a backyard that I can easily visit anytime without worrying about getting dressed, in my wheelchair get up and drive somewhere the back of a narrow van. I click a button and am transported outside, where adorable animals do adorable things for my entertainment.
Exactly like that, yes.