Live, from Richmond, bald eagles at home

  • Pair of chicks
    Pair of chicks  Bald eagles most often have a pair of offspring, such as this duo from a previous year and a different nest. CCB scientists recorded a set of quadruplets in one nest last year, though. The birds at the Richmond eagle cam are reliable breeders, having produced 18 chicks.  Photo by the Center for Conservation Biology
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The Center for Conservation Biology is offering the public a 24-7 view of the domestic life of a pair of eagles in Richmond.

CCB Director Bryan Watts says the  Richmond eagle cam is set to go live on Jan. 15 and will give raptor fans a live-streaming view of the nesting activity of the eagles.

Watts says the new eagle cam is connected to a high-bandwidth web site to minimize or eliminate network interruptions. The nest is on private property in Richmond, near the top of a big, isolated loblolly, 80 to 90 feet off the ground, Watts said. The nest is on an undisclosed site. The eagle cam will offer a bird’s eye view, he said.

“The camera is mounted above the nest, looking down. We can control it remotely, pan and zoom in,” Watts explained. The camera has an infrared sensor for nocturnal eagle-watching, too. The website, hosted by Ustream, will have a chat feature for interaction with viewers. The eagle chat will be monitored by volunteer eagle experts. Watts said he and Libby Mojica, CCB raptor specialist, will participate in the online chats regularly.

The Richmond eagle cam is part of ongoing research on eagle family dynamics by the Center for Conservation Biology. The Center conducts a series of census flights each year during eagle breeding season. Watts notes that the eagle population along the James River has become dense enough to produce some interesting dynamics among the breeding population.

 The CCB is using video cameras to monitor a number of eagle nests along the James River. Courtney Turrin, a William & Mary graduate student, is investigating the eagle equivalent of home invasions: nest intrusions by young male eagles. Eagle activity during the 2012 nesting season will be recorded and reviewed.

The Center for Conservation Biology is a joint program of the College of William & Mary and Virginia Commonwealth University.