WASHINGTON--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--The time has finally arrived for the stars of the D.C. Eagle Cam to return to the World Wide Web, just in time to ring in 2017!
In 2016, eagle fans from over 100 countries fell in love with watching Mr. President & The First Lady raise their two eaglets, Freedom (DC2) and Liberty (DC3), atop a Tulip Poplar tree in the U.S. National Arboretum (USNA) LIVE on www.dceaglecam.org. With over 60 million views in five months, the D.C. Eagle Cam quickly became one of the most popular live animal cams on the Internet
If millions of viewers have been expecting something new for 2017, they won’t be disappointed. In addition to two high-definition cameras streaming 24/7, the D.C. Eagle Cam now features LIVE sound!
In August 2016, after all four eagles left the nesting area, the not-for-profit American Eagle Foundation (AEF; www.eagles.org) and Apex Electric Inc. traveled to Washington, D.C. to install audio equipment in and around the nest tree with the help of experienced arborist tree-climbers.
Adding audio to the HD live-streams will add an exciting and interesting new dimension to the D.C. Eagle Cam experience, allowing fans not only to hear eagle and nature sounds, but also the cacophony of the city below.
Some of the most seasoned D.C. Eagle Cam fans may also notice that the nest looks stronger than last year. That’s because it is.
By late summer, one side of nest structure began to slightly collapse due to a lack of natural tree branch support underneath. There was concern that as the nest became bigger and heavier each year, that it might eventually begin to fall apart while the eagles were nesting. Fortunately, the USNA and AEF were granted permission by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) to do something about this potential problem. Guided by eagle experts from the USFWS and the AEF, experienced arborists were able to place a few large tree limbs underneath the preexisting nest structure after all four eagles had left the nesting area.
These new and sturdy oak and locust support limbs have definitely added extra stability to the nest, but it’s the eagle pair themselves who are exclusively responsible for the size and design of their treetop home.
Mr. President returned to the nest tree on Sept. 13 and was followed by The First Lady on Oct. 11. Since then, they both have been tirelessly carrying-out nest building activities ("nestorations") and adding hundreds of sticks and other soft materials to the interior of nest.
Last nesting season, the cameras didn’t go live until mid-February, at which time the parent eagles were already incubating their two eggs. This year, viewers will get to observe the pair copulating and preparing the nest for their young, as well as watch The First Lady laying eggs (the pair hatched one egg in 2015 and two in 2016; eagle pairs typically lay 1-3 eggs annually). This is the first Bald Eagle pair to nest in the Arboretum since 1947.
Throughout the nesting season, D.C. Eagle Cam fans will be able to participate in Live Q&A sessions with the AEF’s team of volunteer Moderators. Live Q&A will commence sometime in January, but there will be a Bonus Q&A on December 31st from 12 p.m.-2 p.m. EST.
For those who don’t have plans to go out on New Year's Eve, join us for a New Year Countdown with the world’s favorite Bald Eagle pair, live on www.dceaglecam.org.
ABOUT THE D.C. EAGLE CAM PROJECT
In 2015, American Eagle Foundation staff traveled to D.C. to install state-of-the-art cameras, infrared lighting, and other related equipment in-and-around the nest tree with the help of volunteers and experienced tree climbers. The USDA’s U.S. National Arboretum ran a half-mile of fiber optic cable to the cameras’ ground control station, which connects the cameras to the internet. The entire system is powered by a large mobile solar array (containing several deep cycle batteries) that was designed and built by students and staff from Alfred State College, SUNY College of Technology and was partially funded by the Department of Energy and Environment. USNA has implemented a backup generator that will kick-on if prolonged inclement weather causes the solar array to provide insufficient power to the system. In 2016, APEX Electric Inc. (Kenmore, Washington) traveled to D.C. to assist the AEF in successfully installing audio equipment in and around the tree.