The salmon are leaping on the Brooks Falls bear cam

Photo by Michael J Thompson

There are plenty of online streaming video services available these days — Netflix, Hulu, YouTube — but of them all, video streams of animal habitats are still our favourite. And at this time of year, one of the best nature live-streams is the Brooks Falls bear cam.

The webcam shows two of natural wonders in real-time: salmon leaping up waterfalls to reach their spawning ground, and the brown bears hunting them. Brooks Falls is in Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska, and every year, it offers viewers a window into this amazing ecosystem. If you check the stream in late summer or early fall, you’ll likely see at least one bear standing or sitting in the water, calmly watching as salmon fling themselves upstream, patiently waiting for an opportunity to reach out and grab one.

Bears need to consume as much food as they can towards the end of summer, as it’s time for them to bulk up and gain the fat they’ll need in order to survive the winter. Fortunately, the yearly salmon run gives them the perfect hunting opportunity.

The live-stream uses footage from four different cameras, which give different views of the site, including an underwater view of the salmon. And in case this wasn’t enough, Katmai offers viewers the opportunity to ask park rangers questions about what they’re seeing, which the rangers answer on the bear cam each week. (Questions for rangers can be submitted here.)

So next time you’re bored at home and trying to figure out what to watch, consider the most epic drama of them all: nature.