Welcome to a New Season!

Three Eggs on 2013 Eagle CamWelcome to all our cam watchers — whether you’re a new viewer or a loyal cam watcher from previous years. We’ve had a rough road to the 2012-2013 season, as those who have been watching the cam surely realize, and we thank folks for all their patience over the last 11 months.

The drama started last season in February when we had an intruder male eagle land on the nest and attack our two week-old eaglets. Our eaglets did not survive, and this was the first time in eight seasons that we lost an eaglet on the nest. Some cam watchers are likely wondering if we’ll have drama on the nest this year. It’s impossible to know, but my guess would be that whatever happened last year has played itself out resulting in either the male intruder being chased away or the intruder taking over as our female’s new mate. We’ll never know because our birds aren’t banded, but I would think this year will be quieter.

After our sad end to last season, we had other challenges to face. Our Visitor Center is undergoing renovation, and we had water damage in our PC room from a leak during the roof replacement. Then our long-time tree climber passed away, our partner at WildCam quit, and we developed a very nasty static issue with the cams that was hard to eliminate.

The good news is that our cam technician recently spent two days replacing all the wiring for the two cams, and the static is largely gone. You might see a little on the Eagle Cam nest as cars go down the road near the nest, but the new wiring has helped tremendously.

In addition, we bought a new camera for the Eagle Cam nest with pan/tilt/zoom capabilities, but then we discovered that it required much more power than our solar battery could provide, so we had to call out the electric company and get them to hard-wire the cam, which took more time and added cost. And now we’re working on setting up a new software program that will allow us to get the images we see on the monitor up on the website for you. Right now the image is not good, so we need to move to a new program that will help us let you see what we see at the Refuge. And that should be the last hurdle — we hope.

To give you an idea of the view we’re getting from the new cam on the Visitor Center Eagle Cam monitor, I recorded a quick clip from Sunday showing our parents in action along with our three eggs. The items the parents are moving around in the nest appear to be either cattails or corncobs.

As for our hatching schedule, the cam was not operating when the first eggs were laid, but based on previous years, we think we can guess what the dates will be, so here’s the scorecard:

1st egg laid: 1/20
Possible hatch: 2/24

2nd egg laid: 1/23
Possible hatch: 2/27

3rd egg laid: 1/26
Possible hatch: 3/2

We want to thank everyone again for their patience — and ask for a bit more as we work on our new software to improve the image you’re seeing. But trust me when I say we’re working hard on this end to get the cam to a level that will allow all our cam watchers to enjoy a new season of watching eaglets grow into healthy bald eagles.

And a note for our teachers: If you have any issues viewing the YouTube video, submit a comment and I’ll post a non-YouTube version on the blog.

Until next time,
Lisa – webmaster
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Categories: blackwater nwr, eggs | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Welcome to a New Season!

  1. Joyce Hicks

    Wow!!! I can hardly wait til you get this up on the website. Beautiful picture. Thank you so much.

  2. I’ve kept an eye on this nest since 2009, but it’s not been my primary nest. I’m really missing the Norfolk nest, so am excited to see the video quality you will have here soon. Now if only we could have sound! (I know, some people are never satisfied.)

    • Thanks, Judy! Just to clarify, we won’t be posting live video to the site. We can’t because we don’t have high-speed internet out at the Refuge. So we’ll still be posting images, but we will be able to control the image better with the pan/tilt/zoom features.

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