Everybody say “aww”: After two years of planning, Loudoun County’s eagles are ready for their close-ups. High-def cameras mounted 90 feet up on trees went live this fall, depicting the 24/7 comings and goings of two American bald eagles that have been nesting in the county’s wetlands since 2005. Go to dullesgreenway.com/eagle-cam to see for yourself.
The eagles, which will be named by county students early next year, built their nest amid 64 acres of federally protected wetlands in the Goose Creek watershed. The eyes in the sky—which cost $40,000 after installation—are the result of a partnership among TRIP II (owner and operator of the Dulles Greenway), the American Eagle Foundation, the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, and HDOnTap, a live-webcam company.
Finding a time to install cameras and microphones without spooking the birds was one catch, but a larger problem loomed: Given that the nest is basically in the middle of nowhere, where do you find internet connectivity robust enough to keep a livestream flowing? Also, there’s no electrical outlet up there. (And who’s going to go up the tree each time to reboot?) As it happened, the nearest homeowner—a mile away as the crow flies—generously offered up their network password at no cost. Solar-powered batteries provide the electricity.
The best time to catch the birds returning for the evening is around sunset, says Terry Hoffman, a spokesman for Dulles Greenway. In a preview of coming attractions, he adds that they may be laying eggs in January.