Iowa Public Television

 

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Decorah Eagle Nest


Thanks to a computer and some other marvels of modern technology, Bob Anderson has been able to open a window to one of natures wonders... An Eagles nest in N.E. Iowa.  From a garage near the state fish hatchery in Decorah, he shares the view with the rest of world, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day over the Internet, at ustream.tv/decoraheagles.

Bob Anderson, Director of Raptor Resource Project:  “Last year we had 78,000 unique computers logging on from 130 different countries.  I thought that was incredible.  This year, my web master Amy Reece was able to send a 24/7 stream to Ustream.  It’s almost like watching TV and it’s gone viral.  I’m really hoping that every country on planet earth has logged on.  But it’s right now, with over 100,000 total views, it is the most watched video stream on the internet.”

The eagle nest, that has now become an Internet sensation, is the same nest that was featured in the Nature documentary, “American Eagle.”  In their second year of filming, Bob Anderson and wildlife cinematographer Neil Rettig put a camera in the nest for what Bob described as an intimate view of the eagle family.  The year after the filming was completed they returned to the nest with a camera they could hook up to the Internet.

Bob Anderson, Director of Raptor Resource Project:   “It is probably the best wildlife educational tool I could have ever imagined.  A few weeks ago we had 7 inches of slushy snow and both the adult male and the adult female came in and were sheltering the babies.  And it was powerful, powerful.  I think it’s really educating a lot of people about what’s really going on in the circle of nature when it comes to wildlife.  In all aspect of wildlife it’s a huge, huge learning tool and that’s really good.”

New to the nest this year is a camera housed in a smoky globe that can pan, tilt and zoom… Allowing Bob to focus in on wherever the action is.  And, an infrared camera allows people who tune in to the Internet site to see what is happening in the nest once the sun goes down.  Both cameras have added to the body of knowledge regarding bald eagles.

Bob Anderson, Director of Raptor Resource Project:  “We’ve learned the eagles are often flying and coming and going in the middle of the night,  And that’s an unkown.  We learned the male will sometimes even bring in food in the middle of the night.  And by being able to zoom in, we’ve actually have seen the egg hatching.  Just how it is breaking up.  Nature in it’s rawist, purist form.  And really that’s the driving force behind the Raptor Resouce Project.  To be and educational tool and this is a science curriculum in many schools throughout the world. “ 

The view of the eagles nest that Bob has provided over the Internet has done more than capture the lives of two adult American bald eagles as they raise three eaglets… It has captured hearts and according to some of the emails and phone calls Bob has received, it has changed lives.

Bob Anderson, Director of Raptor Resource Project:   “I get calls sometimes from people in nursing homes that can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning to go to the community room so the can log on to their eagles.  I got an email from a woman that said my husband and I quit talking for ten years.  We don’t talk at all.  But whenever we boot up the computer to look at the eagle cam, we talk like newlyweds.  The eagle cam touches many people in many different ways.” 

Bob expects the eagles to fledge, or leave the nest in late June.  Something everyone will be able to watch by visiting the Decorah eagle cam Internet site.  His goal is to capture one of the young eaglets and fit it with a satellite transmitter so he can learn more about the lives of eagles once they leave the nest.  And for those who have tuned in to see the young eagles grow this year, it will be the next chapter in what is the most real of all reality programs.

Bob Anderson, Director of Raptor Resource Project:  ”Everybody asks me “What happened to the babies from last year and that is a question I’ve heard since we’ve been filming at this nest, and we can’t answer it.  So by putting a satellite transmitter on one of the babies this year we’ll be able to follow it for years and years and years.  Might have a website answering where is the Decorah eagle today.  And, we’ll learn.  We’ll find out where these babies roam until they reach adulthood and eventually establish nests of their own.”
 


Tags: conservation Decorah eagles habitat Iowa nature nests tourism travel