Should efforts to install a nest camera be continued? (Opinion-- no eagle sightings)

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Should efforts to install a nest camera be continued? (Opinion-- no eagle sightings)

Kathy wrote:

Ken what is the cost for this camera?  I wonder if we might do a fund raiser in the community to make them more aware of the eagles and perhaps collect money that way?  It is worth a shot.  Perhaps we could approach local businesses as well and why don't we contact the local TV and radio stations and ask for their help in making the community aware of the nest and the need for a nest cam.  I think that many people would love to be able to watch the eagles right from the comfort of their own home.

It is worth a shot


And again:

Hi Ken it's Kathy again I wonder too it we can contact the people who put up the Iowa camera and ask them how they went about funding theirs.

My response:

Hi, Kathy. I did not see a final cost proposal, but it is in the range of $15,000.00-- about 10-12K for the camera, installation, software and web hosting, and additional for ongoing maintenance, antennas (if wireless option is chosen).

The concept of placing the camera on the high light standard (installed by FDOT but subsequently turned over to the City of Pembroke Pines) did not take into consideration the need to lower the ring at the top that holds the lights, for replacement and maintenance. Anything like a camera and antenna/dish would create an obstruction.

FPL simply will not permit a camera on the power pole. Unfortunately, FPL officials subsequently indicated to the Mayor and the chair of his Steering Committee that they would relent and sponsor a camera on the power pole in front of the nest. According to the chairman, FPL did not follow through and apparently reverted to their original position without advising anyone. This caused loss of precious time.

Our original proposal, to place the camera on a branch above the nest, was shot down by FWC-- I'm not entirely sure of the rationale, but it probably related to the belief that the eagles might be disturbed by the presence of a foreign object so nearby. Of course, the USF&WS mounted a camera on a tree in West Virginia, and the Decorah (Iowa) eagle nest cam is located on a branch next to the nest, about 80 feet up in the tree.

The advantage of a tree-mounted camera is that the camera moves with the nest when the wind blows, so only the background appears to move and there is no problem with a swaying image. Further, since the tree is on City land it poses no issue of having to construct a new platform for the camera.

As you may have noticed, the Decorah nest camera often has over 7,000 viewers at a single time (repeat-- not "hits," but actual people from all over the world, and even classrooms of children all viewing the exciting image at once). It is no wonder that they attracted major advertisers who compete with each other and certainly pay good money to display their varied products to a worldwide audience for 30 seconds every time the screen is opened. There are also unobtrusive pop-up ads at the bottom of the screen and in the right column, as well as educational information in the panel below, not to mention a chat feature that brings the general public into a discussion of the wonders that unfold before their very eyes. it is amazing-- any reader who has not yet done so should check it out at:

Example of LIVE Bald Eagle Nest Camera in Iowa

So, it seems to me that a company like Comcast/NBC would take advantage of this opportunity-- they already have the hardware and communication infrastructure to transmit the signal from a nest camera and host it on a web page with advertising that would likely pay for the marginal costs they incur and even turn a profit. After all, they could use their own equipment and personnel to service and maintain the camera.

I do not know whether the Steering Committee has any interest in continuing efforts to install a nest camera. If they do, they cannot wait until next October to begin action on the project as happened last year. I do not know how much support there would be for continuing to push for the camera. The last Committee meeting was almost a year ago-- March 25, 2010 to be exact, so I have no idea as to how the other members of the Committee feel about this. If anything is to be done, the groundwork must be laid now, and action must begin before the rains turn the eagle woods into a swamp by mid-summer. By late  October, the birds are already on territory and beginning to fix up the nest.

I have explored other camera operations and never heard back from one on the Mississippi River in Illinois and the Osprey camera in Dunedin. Others I know about have been funded by power companies, TV stations, a security firm, educational institutions as well as civic entities and conservation foundations-- often a combination of these resources.

The bottom line is whether there is enough public interest in having a nest camera to justify continued efforts to obtain it.

(You asked me what time it was and I told you how to build a watch)