Gorham, ME (PRWEB) April 22, 2011
BioDiversity Research Institute (BRI) today announced the installation of the newest video webcam provided by NextEra Energy. The video camera is set up to monitor the nest of a pair of bald eagles in Maine’s mid-coastal region. This webcam is one of two cameras NextEra currently sponsors that captures the breeding activity of these raptors in real time.
Visitors to BRI’s website, http://www.briloon.org, can watch the daily activities of this eagle pair roosting, hatching eggs, and raising its young.
“We are excited to provide this latest webcam, which allows the public a close-up view into the life of these incredible birds,” says William Hanson, senior biologist for NextEra.
“We are fortunate to have NextEra’s support, without which we would not be able to provide this important tool both for research and education,” says David Evers, Ph.D., executive director of BRI.
Breeding bald eagles lay eggs once each year, usually in early spring; the eggs, up to three in a clutch, hatch in about 35 days. The young eagles, called nestlings, learn to fly by three months of age, and can be on their own about a month later.
“Webcams are an important tool to help engage the general public in science and ecology,” says Chris DeSorbo, director of BRI’s raptor program. “Once people get a glimpse into the daily life and challenges of an eagle nestling, they become more invested in ‘their eagles.’ For many, that’s the nudge that increases their awareness and concern for broader issues facing eagles and other wildlife—like contaminated fisheries and loss of habitat.”
Eagles build their nests (which may reach as wide as 10 feet across and weigh up to one-half ton) near the top of large trees, typically close to lakes and rivers. Eagle pairs defend their nests and surrounding area from other eagles. The territory in which NextEra’s webcam monitor is located was established in 2001. Through aerial surveys conducted by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, biologists know that eagles nesting in this territory have hatched eight nestlings over the past decade.
The bald eagle is one of the most identifiable birds in North America; it became our national bird in 1782 and since that time has captured the public’s imagination as a symbol of freedom and strength. Over the last 230 years, a number of factors have threatened this bird including pesticides, habitat degradation, and shootings; in 1940 the U.S. Congress passed the Bald Eagle Protection Act (which later expanded to include the Golden Eagle). By 1963, the bald eagle was listed as an endangered species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Diligent efforts of wildlife biologists and state and federal wildlife management agencies have enabled these birds to recover; they were removed from the federal endangered species list in 2007, and the Maine state list in 2009.
Installing video cameras to observe the eagles involves cooperation between wildlife biologists and state and federal wildlife agencies. NextEra’s eagle webcam program is made possible through partnerships with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and BioDiversity Research Institute.
BRI’s wildlife webcam program began in 2003 as a research tool to monitor the nests of the common loon, which at the time was one of the primary bird species being studied at the Institute. Since then, BRI has installed additional webcams to monitor the nesting activities of eagles, ospreys, and falcons.The general public can join BRI’s online community through the Institute’s website at http://www.briloon.org.
NextEra Energy Resources, the largest renewable energy provider of wind and solar power in North America, is dedicated to environmental protection in all aspects of its business. For more information, visit their website at http://www.nexteraenergyresources.com.
BioDiversity Research Institute is a non-profit ecological research group dedicated to progressive environmental study and education that furthers global sustainability and conservation policies. The organization believes that wildlife serve as important indicators of ecological integrity. BRI works with state and federal agencies to band and monitor the health and ecology of birds throughout the United States, as well as in regions and around the world. For more information, visit http://www.briloon.org.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is a state agency that oversees the conservation and responsible use of Maine’s natural resources. For more information, visit http://www.maine.gov/ifw.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a federal agency whose mission is to work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants, and their habitats, for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on Bald Eagles, please visit http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/BaldEagle.htm.