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Eagle Cam Project, Year 2
This was an incredible year for both nests. First, the Bluff City pair decided to move to a new site due to some raccoons invading their nest. Dr. Alsop and crew put up some baffle to deter the raccoons but it was too late. Once the eagles moved and set up a new nest the crew was not able to move the cameras until the end of the season. Dr. Alsop and Kevin Brooks searched and found the new nesting site, made contact with the property owners and plans were made to move the cameras during the off season (Oct-Nov 2018).
The Johnson City pair made history with 3 eaglets this year. A first since the nest has been studied. All eaglets were healthy and hearty - so much so the nest fell apart the end of the season. Dr. Alsop and his crew made plans to put up support and add baffling to the tree in October but the eagles beat them to it. The Johnson City pair has been working feverishly to rebuild the nest before the expected eggs arrive in late February, early March. Speedy the flying squirrel kept viewers entertained with his late night antics. A few raccoons kept sneaking in and one was surprised when hit from behind by one of the eagles and went flying out of the nest. The Facebook group has grown as people from all over the country enjoy asking questions or leave comments on the site. The eagles are viewed from around the world and much loved by everyone. We are looking forward to the upcoming season with both the Johnson City and Bluff City nests back online.
The EagleCam Project, Year 1
Thank You For Your Support!
Establishing the two EagleCams in upper East Tennessee was an outstanding success thanks to the work of many in our community, our region and around the globe. Working together with your help, we had an exciting inaugural year. The support of your expertise, your donations, your sponsorships and your faithful linking to our live streaming of the Bluff City and Johnson City pairs of Bald Eagles was unprecedented. We saw courting, nest building, egg laying, incubating and chick raising carried through from November 2015 until the chicks fledged and finally left the nests in July 2016. Your donations allowed us to purchase our equipment and pay our bills, which enabled us to bring the life of these eagle families to you. Your continued interest, your chats and blogs, your questions, and your enthusiasm created a community that tallied more than 1.35 million views this season by more than 800 thousand different viewers in at least 179 countries!
Closing Down For the Season
The nesting cycle is over for this season and we will soon be shutting down our live streaming. But, we will be back in mid-November when our Bald Eagles begin their nesting preparations for the 2016-2017 year. We will use these few months to assess our successes of this year, and our failures, with the goal of improving our service to you in our second year of the ETSU Biological Sciences EagleCam live streaming. We already have a list of possible improvements that include: better camera feeds, better cameras, additional cameras that will include infrared for night viewing and add different viewing positions, better sound, and better service. We also hope to make your viewing experience more interactive and to provide some behavior and life-history information that will make you more informed about the lives of our eagles and the development of their chicks. We will initiate as much of this as possible in the coming months before the eagles return to the nest sites in November.
Where are our eagles now?
We finally closed down live-streaming from our cameras in Johnson City and Bluff City, TN in late July as the fledgling eagles stopped visiting their nests where we had watched them hatch from eggs, take their first steps, learn to eat and finally take wing. Although our eagles, parents and juveniles, are not revisiting their nests, they are still in the area. They are hunting in the waters of the rivers, flying along familiar routes in their territories, visiting their favorite roost trees and hunting perches, and soaring majestically through our Appalachian skies. JC7 and BC9 are mastering the skills of flight and still being mostly dependent on their parents for their meals while they develop their own hunting skills. If you visit their territories along the rivers you may be lucky to see one or more of our eagles. They will remain within a few square miles of their nests until November 2016. They may be joined by other eagles, both adults and juveniles, but they will not migrate out of the region. In mid-November 2016, the paired adults will begin to return to their nest sites of the previous years and add sticks and other building materials to the nest as a prelude to courtship as a way of strengthening pair bonds. Some birds will begin to copulate as they add the new layers of materials to the nest they used last year. Sometime during this period, the young birds, and any additional adults, will be strongly “encouraged” by the resident pair to seek new areas in which to reside, preferably far from the nesting pairs’ territory. They will begin another cycle of courtship, breeding, egg laying, raising nestlings and taking care of fledglings. We will live-stream it all to you as we did during the 2015-2016 nesting season.
We will use these few months in between our eagles’ nesting cycle to improve our equipment, our live-streaming and our service to you and be back on line in mid-November 2016. We hope you will use some of this time to provide us with the critical financial support that we need to provide this natural history experience to you in the 2016-2017 nesting season to come.
Upgrades during the 2016-2017 Nesting Season
Cameras were upgraded, including the addition of another camera at each nest, as well as infrared technology for night viewing of the nests.
Brandon Bragg, our expert tree climber, scaled nearly 80 feet in order to install the second camera directly over the Eagles' nest. This overhead view will allow us to better see the eaglets once they hatch.
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