A bald eagle is shown in this screenshot from the Georgia DNR website. The eagle nest at Berry College is being live-streamed on the Web around the clock, seven days a week. (Special photo)
SOCIAL CIRCLE — Live-streamed video of Georgia’s best-known bald eagles can now also be seen on the website of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
In a partnership between the DNR and Berry College, the DNR Wildlife Resources Division is streaming video provided by the northwest Georgia college of two bald eagles nesting near Berry’s athletic and recreation center.
The nest can be viewed around the clock seven days a week at THIS DNR WEB PAGE, as well as on Berry College’s website HERE. Berry staff and eagle watchers also track the birds on Facebook HERE.
The nest, documented in 2012, has been a hit since Berry began streaming it during winter 2013. Two eaglets took their first flights from the nest that spring, a fledging celebrated by fans. This year, the school added a camera that provides a high-definition view into the nest built high in a pine tree.
DNR Nongame Conservation Section Program Manager Jim Ozier, head of bald eagle monitoring in Georgia, said the agency had been looking for an opportunity to live-stream an eagle nest. Berry’s cameras answered that need, providing an entertaining and educational look at these iconic raptors.
“It allows people an up-close look at nest maintenance and parental behavior – activities normally seen only from afar, if at all,” Ozier said.
Jeanne Mathews, assistant vice president of Public Relations and Marketing at Berry, said the school “very much appreciates the assistance of Sony, Georgia Power and Fluid Mesh Networks for helping us make this opportunity possible.”
“We hope our viewers will enjoy this unique and exciting chance to watch bald eagles 24 hours a day,” she said.
Egg Watch 2014 is on as viewers wait for the pair’s first egg. Ozier said laying can stretch into January, though eagles do not produce eggs every year.
Once common in Georgia, bald eagles declined during the mid-20th century. By the early 1970s, there were no known nests in the state. But populations rebounded in the state and elsewhere, helped by a 1972 U.S. ban on use of the insecticide DDT, habitat improvements through federal Clean Water and Clean Air acts, protection under the Endangered Species Act, greater public awareness, and restoration of local populations through release programs. While still protected by federal and state law, bald eagles were taken off the federal threatened and endangered species list in 2007.
Last year, the Nongame Conservation Section documented 171 occupied nesting territories in Georgia. Of these, 129 were successful, fledging 193 eaglets. For comparison, there were 55 known nesting territories in 2000, nine in 1990 and one in 1980.
This week, Ozier began aerial monitoring of known nest territories, while also searching out new ones. The public is encouraged to report eagle nests, at www.georgiawildlife.com/conservation/eaglenest or by phone, (478) 994-1438. These reports often lead to documentation of nests not already monitored.
Berry is an independent liberal arts college founded in 1902 near Rome. The nationally recognized school has about 2,100 students. The campus, at 27,000 acres, is one of the world’s largest.