By Joseph Dits
South Bend Tribune
SOUTH BEND — The University of Notre Dame’s eagle cam is back, livestreaming video of the eagles in their huge nest atop a tree at St. Patrick’s County Park. The old eagle camera broke down and stopped feeding video this spring after the eggs had hatched.
Local tree experts from the company Davey Resource Group recently scaled the tree using ropes and installed a new camera, which hovers directly over the nest. The HD camera can pan 360 degrees, tilt and zoom up to 32x, according to the university. Low-light capabilities will help viewers to see more activities overnight, too
But it doesn’t provide the sound that was originally planned. Brett Peters, assistant director of Notre Dame’s Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility, which operates the eagle cam, said he’d tested the microphone a week before. But, on installation day, just before the gear was installed, it failed. It would have allowed viewers to hear the eagles squawk and make their high-pitched chipping noises, but likely would have picked up a lot of wind noise, too.
A new feature the eagle cam does include is a measuring device, which the Davey crew simply calibrated during installation, that allows Notre Dame researchers to estimate the size of the eagles’ young and the prey that adults bring into the nest, Peters said.
Notre Dame researchers published their findings this year after studying the types of prey that the eagles bring to the nest, as reported in The Tribune’s Outdoor Adventures column on Aug. 25. Graduate students had combed through more than 26,000 photos of the eagles’ nest that were shot in the spring of 2018.
Another new feature, Peters said, is that the overhead video includes a wider view of the nest, so you can see the eagles fly in or sit on a nearby branch.
He said activity is expected to ramp up in and after December as the eagles build up their nest in preparation for egg laying, which typically is in late February.
The camera was intentionally installed in the time between nesting seasons, to avoid disrupting the eagle family.
This article was made available through Hoosier State Press Association.