ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — It’s the live video stream that Minnesotans and people all around the world can’t seem to get enough of.
A pair of nesting bald eagles prepares for yet another season of laying eggs and raising young.
Since 2012, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Non-game Wildlife Program has offered a live webcam stream of every phase of a young eagle’s life.
“Since then they have successfully hatched three chicks every year, and at least two of them have fledged every year,” said Lori Naumann of the DNR.
But high up in a cottonwood tree, camera problems aren’t an easy fix. The aging remote-controlled camera began having technical issues and was at times forced off line, to the dismay of avid viewers.
That’s where your generous donations to the non-game program will soon make a huge difference. A replacement camera costing around $5,000 will take the place of the original eagle cam and provide around-the-clock viewing.
It’s basically an industrial strength security camera with more bells and whistles. Among the many features, a heated body to melt ice and snow as well as a wiper blade to keep the lens clear.
In addition, its 35x zoom lens is equipped with infrared to allow for night viewing and a microphone to let viewers hear the actual sounds of the parents and baby chicks.
With the help of Xcel Energy line crews to access the nest with a large bucket truck, and Floyd’s Security for providing the technician to get the camera on-line, the a new robotic camera got hoisted into place on Tuesday and onto the large tree.
“The old camera was on a pretty sketchy limb so I think the camera is on a better spot now than it was before,” Xcel Energy lineman Sean Russell said.
With Russell operating the bucket truck, Floyd’s Rob Pinta connected the wiring and tested out the connection.
“They’re such regal birds and fun to watch. Especially the variety of foods they bring into the nest every year is so interesting and so fun to watch,” Naumann said.
It has proven to be a smashing success with viewers worldwide and a clear testament to the success of the bald eagle’s recovery. A recovery made possible in large part to the donations from people who care.
“It’s nature and everybody loves nature,” Naumann said.
The camera should be activated by Give-to-the-Max Day on Thursday, Nov. 16.
Here is how you can watch the DNR’s eagle nest camera.
Information about the DNR Non-game Wildlife Program Facebook page.