East Tennessee State University’s live “Eagle Cam” has captured the attention of people around the world for the last four years.
Viewers tune in to watch two sets of eagles lay their eggs and take care of them after they hatch.
Two nests in the Tri-Cities region are being watched closely by ETSU’s biology department who runs this program. One nest is in Bluff City, with two eggs, and the other in Johnson City, with three eggs.
Those baby eagles have reached their due date and one eagle family welcomed a new baby bird Monday morning.
The program says watching a real, unedited live stream of how the eagles live and interact is fascinating to loyal viewers of the stream.
“It’s a reality show that is based on living eagles where you can tune in or tune out at any time you want where there is no manipulation,” says program director Professor Fred Alsop.
Thousands of people from more than 200 countries are tuning in to watch these Tri-Cities eagles on a daily basis.
“We’ve got about 3,000 people on the chat groups that watch these birds every day,” says Alsop. “We have watchers around the world and have about a million hits a year.”
When the Johnson City nest collapsed, one loyal viewer had a bird’s eye view of the rebuilding process.
“We had a watcher in the chat group counting every stick. We know there are over 770 sticks that went back in that nest,” says Alsop.
Volunteers within the biology department put countless hours of work into monitoring these cameras and archiving information for educational use and research.
They say these eagle cameras help our country preserve one of it’s most beloved national symbols.
“Bringing eagles to the public is very important because we will ultimately save what we love. If we put a name on it and see how they live and see how they interact with the environment it’s a great conservation measure, says Kevin Brooks, a program volunteer.
Viewers of the live stream pointed out that at least one of the eaglets from the Bluff City nest began hatching over the weekend.
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It typically takes anywhere from 24 to 48 hours for the bird to fully emerge.
Alsop expects all five eggs to be fully hatched within the next two weeks.
But once the babies get old enough, the parents will be ready for an empty nest.
“Once the parents start their nesting cycle again next November, they will be highly encouraged to go somewhere else. It’s like kicking the teenagers out of the house,” says Alsop.
This is the eighth and ninth year these pairs of male and female eagles have nested in those Tri-Cities trees.
The “Eagle Cam” program is entirely run by volunteers and relies on sponsors and donations to keep the stream active. Contributions can be made online.
Watch the live eagle cam at this link.
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