From the Field

Connecting YOU with Wildlife – Pennsylvania Game Commission

Broadband, with a Bird’s Eye View

This post has been shared with permission from the Comcast Voices blog. We appreciate Comcast Business’s support of the 2015 bald eagle nest live stream project.

By Dave Dombroski, VP of Comcast Business, Keystone

“Can you wire a tree with broadband?” That was the question posed to the Comcast Business team a few months ago by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.  Specifically, they wanted Internet service to reach a bird’s nest at the top of an 85-foot tall oak tree in rural York County, Pennsylvania. The Commission wanted to set up a live stream of an active bald eagle nest in Hanover, PA and give the public a rare glimpse into the habits of one America’s most symbolic and beloved creatures.  And there was a deadline to get the tree wired: the pair of eagles that has been nesting there was expected to lay eggs in a few weeks.
Eagles Nest Stream
Watch: Live Stream from Game Commission Our team got right to work.  We extended service underground from an existing Comcast box to the base of the tree which was about 400 feet away.  From there, the line went into an enclosure provided by Swam Electric. We worked with HDOnTap for camera suggestions and the Game Commission on installation.  Using a lift, the Game Commission mounted the camera to a branch using straps and plywood, avoiding screws that would damage the tree. And after a few weeks of work, the live feed is now accessible for everyone to enjoy. So what can we expect over the next few months?  According to Patti Barber, endangered bird biologist for the Game Commission, the eagles will lay their eggs sometime in the next few weeks.  One to three eggs are typical. We’re told that with young birds it’s most likely one, but with older pairs it’s more likely to be two or three.
 A lift is used to equip an eagle nest at Codorus State Park in York County, Pa., with power, a camera and broadband Internet, powered by Comcast Business.
According to Barber, the eggs are laid every other day and hatch that way, too. Typically, eggs hatch about 35 days after they are laid. While the nestlings are small, one adult will hunt while the other broods the young. As the nestlings grow they will need more food.  By the time they are about 20 days old they will be able to maintain their body temperature and both adults will be hunting a lot. As the nestlings get older and stronger, they’ll be more and more active in the nest, sometimes stretching out to relax and sometimes hopping from branch to branch and then flapping and holding their weight up in the air. When they leave the nest, they’ll be as big as their parents. We expect lots of activity over the next few weeks.  Be sure to check back on the feed often and we’ll work with the Game Commission to post and share highlights in case you miss something cool.
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