Our world is more connected than ever. At any given moment, live cam feeds can transport us to the wilds of South Africa, the waters of Monterey Bay, the Panamanian rainforest or the icy expanses of Northern Canada.
While nothing beats the thrill of spotting a wild animal in its natural habitat with your own eyes, taking a peek at what Mother Nature's up to via these live streams can be both exhilarating and relaxing.
Spend some time on safari with these 10 live cams that capture wild animals.
Battle of the birds
Courtesy of Explore.org and the Owl Research Institute
At the time of writing, this osprey nest in Charlo, Montana has – in dramatic fashion – become a war zone between a pair of Canada geese (who've co-opted the nest) and the rightful residents, a pair of osprey named Charlie and Charlotte. This cam went live in 2016, and many viewers have stuck with the osprey couple through the years, watching them raise a family.
Even on less dramatic days, the views of the Montana mountains near Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge are spectacular.
Jungle fruit feeder
Courtesy of Explore.org and The Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Spend some time in the jungle without all the mosquitoes and humidity. More than 50 species of birds, along with numerous mammals, butterflies and other insects, have been spotted at this feeder at the Canopy Lodge in Panama.
Avid birdwatchers who can't make it to Central America in person might be able to spot colorful tanagers, warblers, hummingbirds and woodpeckers.
Explore: Virtually explore the world with these photo tours
Elkhorn Slough sea otters
Watch sea otters in the wild with this pair of animal cams — Photo courtesy of iStock / GomezDavid
This pair of cams overlook the salt marshes and tidal creeks of Elkhorn Slough near Monterey Bay. Watch for a while and you may spot southern sea otters in the wild, along with harbor seals and wading birds. More than 125 individual otters reside in the area and are most visible at high tide.
African river safari
Courtesy of Explore.org and Africam
You don't have to go all the way to Africa to see some of the Big 5, thanks to this live cam set up along the Olifants River near Naledi Game Lodge. There's almost always something to see, day or night, including hippos and crocodiles in the water, elephants and giraffe on the banks, and baboons and owls in the trees.
Under the sea
Courtesy of Explore.org and the National Park Service
Perhaps the most zen cam on our list is the one monitoring the kelp forest just off the coast of Anacapa Island in California's Channel Islands National Park, one of the most biodiverse marine habitats on the planet.
If the gentle swaying of the kelp in the clear, turquoise water isn't mesmerizing enough, colorful fish and harbor seals often make an appearance.
Transylvania bear watching
Courtesy of Bear Watching Transylvania
Dracula's homeland also happens to be an excellent spot for watching brown bears in the wild. This Romanian web cam also captures wolves, wild boars, foxes and deer. Night vision cameras make wildlife spotting possible 24/7, regardless of the time zone difference.
The Great White North
Courtesy of Explore.org and Polar Bears International
Speaking of bears, Wapusk National Park in Canada protects one of the world's largest concentrations of polar bear maternity dens. October and November are the best months to tune in to this live cam for the chance of spotting these nomads of the north, but the sheer vastness of the landscape (and the occasional northern lights display) is always impressive.
See the Galapagos tortoise from this Santa Cruz cam — Photo courtesy of iStock / Freder
Spend some time playing Darwin in the Galapagos Islands while looking out for the Galapagos tortoise, one of the archipelago's most iconic species. A pond outside Semilla Verde Hotel in Isla Santa Cruz often plays host to these slow-moving giants, which you can watch via this live cam from Skyline Webcams.
Explore: 10 national sites and monuments where U.S. history was made
See puffins nesting in Shetland this summer — Photo courtesy of iStock / Moorefam
It's almost puffin season in Shetland, the most northerly area of the United Kingdom. Check out this cliff cam during the months of May, June and July for the best chances of spotting these quirky birds. During the rest of the year, keep an eye out for other seabirds, including gannets, guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes.
New Zealand albatross
Courtesy of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the New Zealand Department of Conservation
This streaming cam takes viewers to Otago Peninsula on the southeastern tip of New Zealand's South Island, where northern royal albatross make their nests. This area is home to the only mainland colony of albatross in the Southern Hemisphere.
The pair being watched during the 2020 season laid an egg in November 2019, and the chick can often be seen holding down the fort while mom and dad look for food.