Our story thus far: The female Bald Eagle has laid two eggs this season, on 2/16-17 and 2/20. Incubation takes approx. 5 weeks, which means the first egg should hatch early next week. You can view the nest on streaming video here. (Coming Monday: Bonus Post -- Everything you always wanted to know about hatching the eggs.) One of the nifty things about watching the Duke Farms Eagle Cam is the sheer convenience of it. You just click on the site and wait for the live streaming video to appear. Whats amazing about the Eagle Cam, according to Charles Barreca, Duke Farms manager of ecological stewardship, is its ability to capture fleeting moments in the nest such the first cracks in the egg as a chick hatches -- or the Red-tailed Hawk attacking two years ago. (See video at bottom of this post; not for the squeamish.) But more has gone on into delivering those incredible moments than meets the eye. The cam itself is nothing too fancy, aGE Cyberdome II (above) -- an analog PTZ closed-circuit camera, running on a special power over coaxial system with some beefy lightning protection. PTZ is an abbreviation for pan, tilt, zoom. That means the camera can swivel in several directions and zoom in and out to provide videoranging from close-ups of the nest to panoramic shots of the nest and its surroundings. Six presets enable the cam to move quickly between angles. The ability to point/tilt/zoom also allows us to survey the nest site to check for intruders and trespassers during the nesting season and to monitor flooding events in the area by the river, Charles says. The camera can be controlled from a web interface (at left) accessible from a PC or mobile device.
Got a question or suggestion? E-mail Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Wright writes The Bird Watcher columnist for The Record and the Herald-News. He is the author of four coffee-table books about wild places, and the deputy marsh warden of the Celery Farm Natural Area in Allendale, N.J.
Tomorrow: Getting the video from the nest to you.
Three weeks ago: Bald Eagle basics. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OPsUXdOgGo