The Infamous "Eagle Cam" of Iowa
Thousands upon thousands of people have turned to their webcams in order to broadcast various areas of interest. Sporting events, political rallies and meetings, various rants and personal views, and traffic updates are just a few of the most popular. Recently, a new trend has surfaced that has many people watching their computers for hours on end. Web cameras positioned just above the nests of Bald Eagles, commonly referred to as, “Eagle Cams.”
Following in the footsteps of the immensely popular “Puppy Cam” from 2008, the “Eagle Cam” boasts a much more masculine and patriotic approach to nature watching. The Raptor Research Project in Decorah, Iowa placed their hidden webcam 80 feet above the ground in late February. The family of Bald Eagles laid three eggs in their nest on February 23rd. Rapidly gaining popularity, the website gained hundreds of loyal viewers in little more than a few days. For the entire month of March, the two parent eagles kept watch over their eggs, incubating them and protecting them.
On April 1st, the first egg hatched and produced a healthy Bald Eagle chick. The reputation for the “Eagle Cam” soared almost overnight. Almost 100,000 viewers tuned in to watch the new-born baby chick and wait for the other eggs to hatch. The Research Project’s website crashed due to the massive amounts of attention. Three days later, the second egg hatched – again producing a healthy chick. Finally, on April 7th, the world let out a sigh of relief as the third and final egg hatched.
The webcast consists entirely of a view of the nest and its occupants. The chicks can be seen chasing each other and playing around inside the 1 ½ ton home. Routinely, the parent eagles will depart in search of food. However, one parent eagle always remains with the children. The parent eagles then will, much to the amazement of the viewing audience, feed and preen their chicks.
The Iowa “Eagle Cam” has achieved critical and world-wide acclaim. Nearly 11 million people have watched the webcast since it began. At any given moment, roughly 130,000 people are viewing. NBC’s Today Show even featured a segment on the “Eagle Cam” during its normal morning lineup. Donations are even being taken for the Raptor Research Project Decorah on 3rd party websites.
Besides the webcast in Iowa, several other “Eagle Cams” have been posted from different stats; yet none of them have achieved the popularity of the Iowa Bald Eagles. One such webcast took place in rural West Virginia during late March. Unfortunately, none of the eggs hatched. This was caused by the original nest having been taken over by two different Bald Eagles and the original parents fleeing the scene.
Other information regarding the “Eagle Cams” can be found at: http://blog.nwf.org/wildlifepromise/2011/04/eagle-cam-iowa-bald-eagle-eggs-hatching-live/