Live-streamed video of Georgia’s best-known bald eagles can now also be seen on the website of Georgia’s best-known wildlife agency.
In a partnership between the Department of Natural Resources and Berry College, the DNR Wildlife Resources Division is streaming video provided by the northwest Georgia college of two bald eagles nesting near Berry’s athletic and recreation center.
The public can follow the pair 24/7 at www.georgiawildlife.com/BerryEagleCam, as well as on Berry College’s website (www.berry.edu/eaglecam). Berry staff and eagle watchers also track the birds on Facebook at www.facebook.com/berrycollegeeagles.
The nest, first documented in 2012, has been a hit since Berry began streaming it during winter 2013. Two eaglets took their first flights from the nest that spring, a fledging celebrated by fans. This year, the school added a camera that provides a high-definition view into the nest built high in a pine tree.
DNR Nongame Conservation Section Program Manager Jim Ozier, head of bald eagle monitoring in Georgia, said the agency had been looking for an opportunity to live-stream an eagle nest. Berry’s cams answer that need, providing an entertaining and educational look at these iconic raptors.
“It allows people an up-close look at nest maintenance and parental behavior – activities normally seen only from afar, if at all,” Mr. Ozier said.
Jeanne Mathews, assistant vice president of Public Relations and Marketing at Berry, said the school “very much appreciates the assistance of Sony, Georgia Power and Fluid Mesh Networks for helping us make this opportunity possible.”
“We hope our viewers will enjoy this unique and exciting chance to watch bald eagles 24 hours a day.”
Egg watch 2014 is on as viewers wait for the pair’s first egg. Ozier said laying can stretch into January, though eagles do not produce eggs every year.
Once common in Georgia, bald eagles declined during the mid-20th century. By the early 1970s, there were no known nests in the state.
But, populations rebounded here and elsewhere, helped by a 1972 U.S. ban on use of the insecticide DDT, habitat improvements through federal Clean Water and Clean Air acts, protection under the Endangered Species Act, greater public awareness, and restoration of local populations through release programs. While still protected by federal and state law, bald eagles were taken off the federal threatened and endangered species list in 2007.
Last year, the Nongame Conservation Section documented 171 occupied nesting territories in Georgia. Of these, 129 were successful, fledging 193 eaglets. For comparison, there were 55 known nesting territories in 2000, nine in 1990 and one in 1980.
This week, Mr. Ozier began aerial monitoring of known nest territories, while also searching out new ones. The public is encouraged to report eagle nests, at www.georgiawildlife.com/conservation/eaglenest or by phone, 478 994-1438. These reports often lead to documentation of nests not already monitored.
Berry is an independent liberal arts college founded in 1902 near Rome. The nationally recognized school has about 2,100 students. The campus, at 27,000 acres, is one of the world’s largest. Read more about the Berry eagles, and even watch streaming video by approach cam, at www.berry.edu/eaglecam.
DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section monitors eagle nests and works with landowners to protect sites.
The Nongame Conservation Section is charged with conserving eagles and other Georgia wildlife not legally hunted or fished for, as well as native plants and natural habitats. But the agency does not receive state appropriations for this work. Instead, the agency depends on grants, direct contributions and fundraisers such as the Wildlife Conservation Fund state income tax checkoff and sales and renewals of bald eagle and hummingbird license plates.
Learn how you can help at www.georgiawildlife.com/conservation/support.
Bald Eagles at a Glance
- Size: Adults can weigh 14 pounds, with 8-foot wingspans. Males are slightly smaller.
- Prey: Fish are a staple. Eagles also eat waterfowl, turtles, snakes, rabbits and other small animals.
- Mates: Eagles mate for life. They often use the same nest, adding to it each year. (Nests up to 10 feet wide and weighing a half-ton have been recorded.) Nests are often built in the tops of tall pine or cypress trees.
- Offspring: In Georgia, pairs typically lay one to three eggs in December or January. The young fledge in three months and are on their own in about four.
- Looks: Eaglets are the same size as adults but dark brown, almost black, when they leave the nest. Bald eagles gain the characteristic white head and tail feathers at 4 to 5 years old.
- Long-lived: Bald eagles live up to 15-25 years in the wild, longer in captivity. Many of those born in Georgia head north their first summer. Some return. Most of Georgia’s eagles live here year-round.
- Protected: Removed from the federally threatened list in 2007, bald eagles remain protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, and other federal and state laws.
- Species profile: www.georgiawildlife.com/rare_species_profiles.