Owl Cam Offers Bird’s Eye View
HDOnTap, a specialist provider of live webcam streaming services, hardware and customized off-grid power, wireless network and remote live cam solutions for wildlife viewing, were referred to the board of Skidaway Island, a state park near Savannah, Ga., by the Georgia DNR.
The founder of HDOnTap, Tim Sears, said, “The requirement was to install a live camera on the bald eagles’ nest, to give viewers a ‘point-of-view’ in the nest and capture the activity of the eagles during the season. Along with a high-quality camera image, it was imperative that the birds could be viewed 24/7, so a nighttime illuminator would also be paramount to enable the nest images to be streamed around the world via the Web.”
“White light illuminators were not a viable option as these would disturb the nesting birds,” Sears said, “so this steered us towards choosing an infrared illuminator. HDOnTap have used iluminar LED IR lighting products exclusively on all our previous installations, and with a history of flawless operation, we were confident that the deployment of an iluminar product would more than meet our requirements.”
Sears specified an X|Stream Designs X|Mod enclosure fitted with a 720p Sony WR600 PTZ camera, supported by an iluminar IR623 Series long-range infrared LED illuminator, and powered via a 12VDC accessory power port within the enclosure.
The iluminar IR623 Series can illuminate objects at distances up to 623 feet using SMT LED technology, and features low power consumption together with an IP67 weatherproof enclosure. Footage from the camera is now being streamed live on the Internet via HDOnTap’s live streaming webcam service.
After a swift installation, the nest was left for the anticipated arrival of the bald eagle pair. However, only one eagle arrived. The speculation was that the mate had been lost or had strayed. This was not the bad news it initially appeared to be though, as the vacant nest soon attracted a pair of Great Horned Owls who took it over.
“Opportunistic in using the nests of other birds, the owls exchanged prey, courted, and the female laid two eggs that have now hatched,” said Sears. “The Web stream has been a great success. At any given time, there are 2,500 to 3,000 simultaneous people watching the live streaming of the birds’ activities. We anticipate that traffic will grow closer to 10,000 as the young develop, and from our experience of live-streaming surveillance of other birds’ nests, we anticipate streaming close to 4,000,000 hours of footage before the chicks fledge from the nest.
“Thanks to the iluminar IR623 Series LED illuminator, we have the perfect set-up for delivering astonishingly clear nighttime images of the owls’ nest activity. This is a real advantage, as much of the owl activity takes place during the hours of darkness — when the most valuable footage can be gathered.”
Anyone wanting to check on the progress of the Great Horned Owl family can do so by visiting www.hdontap.com/index.php/video/stream/great-horned-owl-cam.
For information, visit www.hdontap.com.