When we set up cameras to capture actual real-time
images, we get whatever it is that nature hands
out. It is a risk we take. Many times, it is a positive
experience for everyone, as we watch young animals
grow and mature. At other times, it is not so pleasant.
But if we want to show our majestic wildlife to
the world, it is important that we understand they
also face risks from many directions.
When we established the WildWatchcam program,
we anticipated that at some time the view might
be unpleasant for some. We consulted with many
biologists, and their advice was “once the
birds start nesting, the risks to the chicks are
far greater if a human intervenes that if we don’t.”
So that is our operating philosophy. Once the
birds begin the nesting process, we are done until
all young have fledged and the adults move on.
We don’t adjust cameras that get knocked
out of alignment; we don’t clean cameras
that get splattered by rain or feces; and we don’t
interfere with what nature dishes out. But we
do get to learn about the life and death struggles
that occur out our windows.
Type of camera equipment
used by WildWatchcams.
Newly available and affordable technologies in
surveillance equipment and web-based information
sharing have created an exciting opportunity.
We combined these two technologies to create a
new wildlife research tool -- one that we want
to share that with you. We call these WildWatchcams.
We use high-quality miniature security cameras
to observe wildlife from a safe, non-intrusive
distance; and broadband Internet transmissions
to bring live views of wildlife to our biologists'
desks and to your home.
The WildWatchcam projects are partially funded
through the sales of the personalized and the
specialty bald eagle license plates and private
donations. Contributions of equipment, installation
and technical assistance from Timothy K. Brown,
B.E. Meyers have helped launch many of the WildWatchcams.
Thermosight and Olympia Systems have provided
additional support and technical assistance.
Exciting new links and video clips are being
created to allow you behind the scenes to meet
some of the people who make these cams possible.
This year many of our cameras are being used
by biologists to study wildlife. We will bring
you special interviews and behind the scene visits
to see how the cameras are setup and used for
the various species.