View from the Sidney Cams
Sunday, June 05 2011 @ 06:36 PM EDT
Contributed by: JudyB
We've been hearing from a number of people over the last few days about the fact that the close-up camera at Sidney is looking a lot less clear than it was right after Flyer was rescued - and that as of June 5, the wide angle camera wasn't transmitting at all.
A number of us have explained what happened to the CU cam (jkr may have the best explanation - one or more of the eaglets pointed his or her little tail feathers towards the cam and "fowled" it!) A few glancing shots have led to the general fogginess, and the dark smudge is the result of a direct shot at fairly close range.
Eaglets being eaglets, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it got worse as the month progresses. The eaglets are getting bigger, eating more - and producing more. They are around 7 weeks old as of June 5th, and if all continues to go well, will probably fledge in late June or early July - right in time for FledgeFest on July 7th!
There is a bit more to the story, so please click the link to read the rest.
The WA cam is sort of black with flashes of color and light, and Richard suspects a cable has broken. We'll try to have someone check the end of the cable at the computer early next week. If we're very, very lucky, the break will be there and can be fixed. But if it's in the part of the cable going up the tree to the cam, or the part of the cable buried in a trench between the tree and the building where the computers live - there's nothing we can do.
Getting back to the CU cam, as an Admin I've had emails from people asking why we can't get a crane like the one we used to rescue Flyer when she was tangled in fish line - and use it to clean the cam, the way David did while they were doing the rescue.
I really wish we could.
Unfortunately, there are several reasons why we cannot do that.
First and foremost - and the absolute bottom line - is that we need permission from the Ministry of the Environment to interfere in any way with an active nest with eaglets. The MoE agreed that it was worth the risk that the adults might abandon the nest or that the crane basket might bump the tree and knock the nest to the ground, killing all three eaglets. If we did nothing, there was a good chance that Flyer would die or be permanently injured, and that outweighed the small but real risks involved in approaching the nest.
In this case, I cannot imagine that they'd be willing to consider even a very small risk to the nest and the eaglets so people could have a better view on a web cam. And personally, as much as I'd love to have the wonderful clear look at the nest that we had right after David spritzed away a month or two of grime - there's no way that HWF is willing to risk Flyer or Snuggles or little Burrows just so viewers can see a bit more.
In addition, it costs a lot to rent a crane. I have no clue what the mats that were needed to get the crane across the marsh to the nest would have cost if they weren't so generously donated by DrainScope and Victoria Drain for the rescue of Flyer. The cost of transporting David and his team from the mainland to Vancouver Island is not insignificant. In the grand scheme of things, I'm afraid we do need to prioritize expenses - and even if we had the money, it seems to me that it would make a lot more sense to invest $20,000 in new high resolution, long range cams that could be placed out of the reach of the little tail feathers and what's underneath them than to invest $20,000 in four visits to the nest to clean the cam.
Like everyone else, I wish we could have it all. And sometimes we do come close - I'm loving the view we have of the White Rock nest, and looking forward to the day that we can have cams like that at Sidney (click here to see what David would like to do next year - and what it will cost). We do need your help to find sponsors to let us upgrade the Sidney cams - if you have any suggestions, please let David and Karen know.
And thank you for watching the eagles. They face a lot of environmental challenges that will only get worse as time goes by - and they do need a lot of friends to make things better. Thank you for being part of that.