Eagle Cam should produce another exciting season

Pennsylvania Game Commission executive director Bryan Burhans sounds like a proud father, or perhaps grandfather, when he talks about the return of the agency’s Eagle Cam mounted in a nest at Codorus State Park near Hanover in York County.

Eagle Cam is the online service that provides worldwide access 24/7 access of the activities in the nest until vacated in the spring. To view Eagle Cam go to the PGC website at www.pgc.pa.gov and click the “Hanover Bald Eagle Live Stream” link. Twitter and Facebook users also can share the Eagle Cam with friends by tweeting #PGCEagleCam.

Egg-laying and the incubating process is weeks away, but the activity of the mature parents leading up to the blessed event is worth viewing. This year viewing is available from two cameras — one from the side and one from above, which has infrared capabilities for night viewing.

Both cameras are equipped with a microphone and have been installed 75 feet high in the nesting tree eagles have used for more than a decade and successfully fledged young there many times. Last year two eaglets hatched in March and took their first flights in June, but there were concerns as to whether Eagle Cam would be back at the same tree because portions of the nest had partially collapsed.

Fortunately, it was rebuilt ahead of the 2017 nesting season, only to collapse further since the Eagle Cam last was online. Once again, however, the adult eagles using the nest tree have rebuilt the nest and have it ready for use in the coming months.

“While it’s always a thrill to see a bald eagle in the wild, the Game Commission’s Eagle Cam allows viewers to see bald eagles in ways they never could through binoculars or a spotting scope,” Burhans said. “As we’ve seen in recent years, there’s no predicting what will happen next on the Eagle Cam, but while those eagles are in and around the nest, you can pretty much guarantee you’ll see something fascinating.

“It is the uncertainty of what will happen next is part of why so many Eagle Cam viewers regularly tune in. As many as 1.5 million viewers have watched the Eagle Cam during a single nesting season.

“Eagle Cam is provided through a partnership among the Game Commission, HDOnTap, Comcast Business, Codorus State Park and Pennsylvania State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Last year, viewers enjoyed more than 6.8 million hours of live HD video and audio from the nest, as well as daily time-lapse clips on screens world wide, and we can’t wait to see what develops this season.”

Burhans said last year the first of two eggs appeared the evening of Feb. 10 and the second on the evening of Feb. 13, with the first egg hatching March 20, the second the next day. During the Memorial Day holiday the eaglets began branching and by mid-June seldom were seen at the next, so live streams ended in July.

“We thank the landowners, neighbors and Codorus State Park staff for being our eyes, ears and feet on the ground,” Burhans said. “We thank HDOnTap for providing the live stream service and Comcast Business for providing the necessary internet connection.

“Most of all we thank all for watching and learning about Pennsylvania wildlife with us.”

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Betty Dietz is a member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association.

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