Tomorrow: An interview with Eagle Cam Maestro Charles Barreca.
This year, Duke Farms has a new high-definition Eagle Cam equipped with infra-red that enables viewers to watch the nest around the clock. Since Eagle Cam viewers have never been able to view the nest at night before this season, they can watch the parents and chicks after dark for the first time.When you see the cam zoom in or out for a better view, you can thank Charles Barreca, Duke Farms' Manager of Ecological Stewardship. He's the man behind the curtain who does the magic. (Thanks, Charles!) From his desktop computer, Charles can zoom the camera in and out and pan it as well -- depending on whether he wants a long shot of the nest and its environs or a close-up of the eaglets or what they are being served for their latest meal.
You can see what the controls look like on Charles' monitor in the shot above. The fact the Eagle Cam transmits a remarkably high-quality image belies the fact that getting that image to your screen is quite a technological feat, for one simple reason: Duke Farms' Bald Eagle nest is in a remote, wet and wooded area of the property, and installing and maintaining a high-definition camera and the electricity to run it is a challenge. Although many of the problems associated with those challenges have been resolved, this cam relies on an Internet link in the Duke Farms offices to translate the feed from the cam and send it to Ustream. When the Internet goes off for any reason -- a power failure or an Internet problem -- the cam must be re-set. So when you go to the Duke Farms Ustream channel and there's no live feed, it's invariably a problem with the Internet, not the cam itself. And that sort of a problem is much easier to resolve. Next step, after nesting season ends, is to install a microphone in the new cam and see if there's enough power coming to the cam to run both the cam and the microphone. You can see a close-up of a Bald Eagle eye taken with the new cam here. You can also read a lot more about the cam in our free on-line e-book about the eagles here. The link goes directly to that chapter, so feel free to check out the entire book after you read about the new cam. You can also hear the digital pages turn, so make sure your sound is on.
Got a question or suggestion? E-mail Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Wright writes The Bird Watcher columnist for The Record. 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.