116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Empty-nest syndrome: Eaglets are leaving; camera to shut down
With the world-famous adolescent eagles spreading and testing their wings, the Decorah bald eagle cam will soon shut down.
The three chicks hatched in early April have left the nest, leaving little of interest to the fans who have logged more than 160 million Internet views this spring, said Bob Anderson, director of the sponsoring Raptor Resource Project.
The most precocious of the three eaglets took flight Saturday and later returned to the nest “as if it had been on the wing for weeks,” said Anderson, 60, of rural Decorah.
Since the three chicks hatched within six days of each other, Anderson believes they all will have made their maiden flights by the weekend. With the nest sitting empty much of the time, Anderson said, wall posting on the nest's Facebook page will be shut down Friday, with the cameras likely turned off by the end of the week.
“It has been the most viewed live cam in the history of the Internet,” said Ruby Tugade, content and distribution manager for San Francisco-based Ustream, the website that hosts the live video stream.
Anderson said Ustream had spent a fortune for the bandwidth required to have more than 150,000 viewers at once.
Tugade declined to comment on the cost, but said, “It was a gift to everyone.”
Anderson said he is proud that the nest cam has taught so many so much about the wonders of nature.
“I think it is probably the largest wildlife education program ever on the planet Earth,” Anderson said.
Anderson, who has been tied to the nest via email and cellphone when not actually running the cameras, said he is looking forward to an “unplugged party” in the near future.
Next year, he said, they'll have more and better cameras and faster uploads - plus, “live video and audio from a red-tail hawk nest and (very probably) a peregrine falcon nest.”