Several eagle watchers have expressed interest in having a nest cam installed. Such a camera would require funding and acquisition of dedicated bandwidth. We understand that electrical power may be available from a box only about 150 feet from the nest. If funding were obtained and local permissions were granted, a formal application must be processed. FWC requires application for an eagle nest cam to be made 90 days before intended installation, if it is placed within the 330 foot buffer zone around the nest.
Of course, a camera view is no substitute for the real thing, but it can provide valuable information about the welfare and habits of the birds. Interestingly, this Osprey cam has just begun operating at a nest in Pinellas County. You might wish to check out the Osprey cam Web site at this link and click on “Live Camera.” Other links describe a project to involve 4th and 5th grade students:
Participation in monitoring an Osprey nest is intended to accomplish three things. 1) To get children in the habit of observing the wildlife around them on a regular basis, 2) To create an interest in and to teach ‘citizen science’ methods of observations and collecting data and 3) To instill in children a sense of the value of volunteerism, particularly as it relates to the environment.
Participating 4th and 5th grade classes will receive Citizen Scientist booklets to record their observation data. For enrichment children are encouraged to visit Honeymoon Island Nature Center and the Osprey Trail at Honeymoon Island. Data will be summarized and posted before the end of the school year.
The students will track the following pair/nest events:
While FDOT regards the new restrictions as the only safe and practical response to the traffic hazards, they will be an added inconvenience for those who come to the nest site to see the eagles. Our hope that the public will have a safe vantage point during this and the next eagle nesting season is fading fast. As much as we have enjoyed the close views from the south side of Pines Boulevard, and so many have accepted the risks of standing next to a busy highway to obtain those views, we have no inherent right to them. We do not “own” the eagles, and public safety cannot take a back seat to our desire to get close to them.
If sufficient resources, such as corporate sponsorship might be obtained, there is the possibility that a remote camera could be mounted with a clear view of the nest. Connected to the Internet, such an “Eagle Cam” would allow everyone to “own” great views of the family life of these great birds. The Dunedin Links Osprey Cam provides us with an excellent example of the educational value of a nest camera. I invite you to provide us with suggestions as to methods and possible resources.