The Decorah Eagle nest cam in Iowa is technically excellent. Yesterday they had over 33,000 viewers at the same time, and today will likely be even busier (the number of viewers just exceeded 30,000 as I write this at 9:45 AM), as the first of the three eggs is expected to begin cracking open any time now. Viewers include many schools, and teachers have taken it on as class science projects.
It would be interesting to know the specs of this camera and setup. It is mounted on the nest tree, the most ideal way to do this, as it avoids distortion due to relative movement of the nest tree and/or the camera mount.
In response to several queries, I do not know whether it is the intention of the Pembroke Pines Mayor's Bald Eagle Sanctuary Steering Committee to continue efforts to install a nest camera at the City-owned Pembroke Pines site. The Steering Committee has not been convened in over a year, so it is essentially non-operational.
It is now probably too late in the year to start planning a camera for the 2011-2012 breeding season, for it would have to be installed before October, 2011. The nest camera project was not the primary objective of the Steering Committee, but it would have supported its educational goals and objectives, as well as contributed to public safety in the area around the nest. Note that the Decorah site does not have a problem with onlookers, even though it is in plain sight of the road (which is visible behind the nest).
There was good reason for FDOT to deny funding for the nest camera, as the light pole on the north side of Pines Boulevard was not a suitable site for the camera, and no other structure was available for this purpose. However, I do not understand the rationale for Florida FWC's alleged objections to mounting a camera on the nest tree, as a written explanation has never come to my attention. This would be much cheaper and less intrusive than installing a 50 foot tower or pole next to the nest. After all, two of the best eagle nest cameras are the Decorah and also the USFWS camera in W Virginia-- both are mounted on the nest trees.
Further, it is beyond belief that FPL and/or Comcast/NBC 6 does not see the advantages of providing modest monetary and material support for such a camera in Pembroke Pines. They could sell advertising on the web camera display page and reach many thousands of viewers, in addition to providing a greatly appreciated community service. I wonder if their marketing people have even analyzed the value of such a venture.
Again, view the Decorah Camera at this link and watch the eggs hatch. I especially want to see how the parents feed the newly hatched chicks and also hope to observe interactions between the nest-mates:
DECORAH (IOWA) EAGLE NEST CAMERA LIVE
Decorah eagles capture Eastern Iowa's attention
Posted: Mar 30, 2011 10:21 PM EDT
Written by Colleen O'Shaughnessy, Multimedia Journalist
DECORAH (KWWL) -
Three chicks are just days away from breaking their shells in front of tens of thousands of viewers. It's certainly had people - including us at KWWL- glued to our computers for the last month. The live feed of the Decorah Eagle Camera is part of the Raptor Resource Project -- an organization working toward the preservation of birds like eagles, falcons, and hawks.
In the last couple of days, you'll generally find Bob Anderson glued to a computer monitor. He doesn't want to miss a glimpse of three eggs, incubating under their mother's care.
The eagles we're all watching, are just a few yards from where Anderson is sitting. The nest is actually located in the backyard of Willard and Mary Ellen Holthaus, who Anderson credits for their patience and support of the project.
Anderson chose the nest because of its proximity to a busy road. He figured, if the eagles didn't mind cars driving by, they would tolerate him and his camera.
"We could light off firecrackers, cherry bombs around and the female would not get off her eggs," Anderson noted. "They're just extremely tolerant of mankind."
Anderson started the eagle camera in 2007, with a stagnant camera mounted just above the nest. Then, a few months ago, he snuck a new camera, one that tilts and zooms, closer to the birds.
"In the month of October they have the least affinity to the nest, so that's the only time we can disturb them that we know we won't drive them away," said Anderson.
Once they linked up with U-Stream, the nest went viral, boasting more than four million viewers.
"Now to think there's 30-35,000 at one time looking at it, that's just unbelievable," Anderson noted.
The moment that resonates in Anderson's mind came a few weeks ago, as he watched freezing rain pour over the young female. She cared more about protecting her eggs than focusing on her own warmth.
But the biggest impact comes in the emails and phone calls he receives from loyal viewers who are inspired by the birds eye view of mother nature.
"People in nursing homes say their clients get up in the morning and rush to the community room so they can check on "their eagles." Almost like the Eagle Camera gives them a reason to get up in the morning," Anderson said.
"One of the most touching letters I got said, Bob, my husband and I stopped talking decades ago. But anytime we log onto the Eagle Camera we start babbling like newly weds. It's so amazing how its touched and influenced so many people in so many different ways."
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