The Notre Dame Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility (ND-LEEF) will debut its new “in-nest” livestreaming camera, mounted above the bald eagle nest located at St. Patrick’s County Park during the 5th Annual Science Sunday event Oct. 22.
While the previous camera was popular, with 100,000 live feed views, its low angle prevented viewers from seeing eagles when in the nest and made it hard to see them when leaves were present in summer.
With the new high-definition camera, viewers will see the nest being built, eggs being laid and incubated, and the eaglets as they hatch and reach the fledging stage.
“The eagles are a wonderful symbol of how we can integrate scientific research with care for the environment,” said Diogo Bolster, associate director of the Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative and associate professor of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences. “The other day I showed my kids some images from the eagle cam and the looks on their faces were amazing. It’s wonderful to think that around the world, kids of all ages who watch the ND-LEEF Eagle Cam can now have a similar reaction."
Recently, the eagles have added sticks to their already massive nest – nearly 8 feet across and 3 feet deep – in preparation for winter. The best time to see the eagles online is 2 to 3 hours after sunrise when they are most active in the nest.
Viewers can also rewind the live feed up to four hours to look for recent activity in the nest. The live feed is available online at ndleef.nd.edu.
“There’s not consistent activity in the nest yet,” said Evie Kirkwood, director of St. Joseph County Parks, “but people who watch the camera online will notice the birds visiting the nest more frequently though winter, especially as egg laying begins in February.”
Adults and kids can learn firsthand about environmental research during the 5th Annual Science Sunday. From 1 to 4 p.m., Notre Dame faculty and graduate students will lead demonstrations and hands-on activities appealing to all ages, around topics such as micro-plastic pollution, tree physiology and chemical processes in ponds and streams.
During Science Sunday, a naturalist from St. Joseph County Parks will also be on hand to share information about bald eagles. There is no entrance fee for the event and light snacks will be provided.