Wednesday, 17 April 2013

from DC Chief of Police: Eagle Cam Live-Streams Wild Bald Eagle Chicks in Washington

its stuff like this that makes me proud to be part Washingtonian...

As we reflect on the tragedy in Boston, I wanted to share something that serves as an inspiration and reminds us of why we are so fortunate to live in America.  The below link takes you to a live camera feed of two nesting Bald Eagles, and their chicks, that have taken up residence in a tree behind our police academy in Southwest.  This camera feed is streamed live on the National Geographic website.  

In times such as these, a simple reminder, such as watching these majestic Bald Eagles, the symbol of our Country’s strength and freedom, can remind us all what America stands for.    

 Chief Cathy Lanier

About the Eagles

The nest featured here is about five feet wide and made mostly of sticks. It sits about 80 feet up in a tree on the grounds of the Metropolitan Police Academy. Installing the webcam, provided by National Geographic, was Chief of Police Cathy L. Lanier's idea. She has long been interested in the eagle pair that chose the academy grounds for its home. "It is fitting and exciting that our national bird has made a home on the Metropolitan Police Department's Academy grounds," said Lanier. "We look forward to viewing the eagles in their habitat."

The eagles are thought to be the same pair that has nested in the area for several years, says Craig Koppie, raptor biologist at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Chesapeake Bay field office in Annapolis, Maryland. Koppie is an advisor on the Earth Conservation Corps eagle restoration project, which also oversees a second bald eagle nest in Washington.

Bald eagle nests usually contain one to three dull-white eggs, and the parents take turns incubating them. Eggs hatch in about five weeks, and hatchlings are covered with soft, fluffy, light-gray feathers. “Generally the female stays on the nest while the father’s job is to bring in the food,” Koppie says. Food for this pair of eagles is generally fish—catfish, shad, or perch—plucked from the Anacostia.

At about eight weeks old, the chicks start their flying lessons by standing on the nest edge and beating their wings. Actual flight happens around the 11th week, Koppie says, with the parents circling nearby, often calling loudly. Young birds stay close to the nest for several weeks, continuing to depend on their parents for food.

About the Project

This project begins an initiative called “Wired Washington,” a multispecies, multipartner citizen-science effort led by the police and two local youth groups, Earth Conservation Corps and Wings Over America. The groups' mission is to use habitat mapping and public awareness to protect the wildlife in city neighborhoods. Some of the young people leading the research effort are part of the District of Columbia’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Service, a juvenile justice agency responsible for providing safe and stable residential and community-based programs to youth who have been committed to its care.

Schoolchildren who are part of the TAGS DC program also will observe and document the eagles’ activity from boats on the Anacostia River. Wired Washington collaborators include the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the D.C. Department of the Environment, Pepco, Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Rob Bierregaard of the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University. All digital streams and satellite tracks will be stored on hard drives as part of research on raptors in an urban environment.

Earth Conservation Corps is a nonprofit, environmental, youth development program that engages unemployed, out-of-school youths in the restoration of the heavily polluted Anacostia River. Through their environmental service the young people gain pride in becoming part of the solution while learning hands-on workforce and leadership skills.

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