Friday, February 28, 2014

Check out the Bear Trace's Eagle Cam for Real Birdies

Hey, golfers, want to enjoy some birdies? Then check out the beautiful bald eagles viewable every day thanks to a Tennessee golf course's "eagle cam."

Back in 2010, a pair of bald eagles - since named Eloise and Elliot - showed up at the Bear Trace at Harrison Bay golf course in Harrison, Tenn., and built a nest. They've been there ever since. The first aim of course superintendent Paul Carter, after he noticed the eagles, was to figure out how best to protect the birds, which are, after all, our nation's symbol. And his second thought was, "how can I show off these magnificent creatures?"

He turned for advice to the USGA Green Section, and a story on USGA.org details how Carter and the USGA combined their heads to both protect the birds and to allow people to watch the pair. That article notes:

Carter and his staff wanted to get a closer look at the nesting activities of Elliot and Eloise and also share it with the public. The USGA echoed Carter’s enthusiasm when asked for help with the project.

“It was an absolute no-brainer from our end,” said Jim Moore, the director of education for the Green Section. “We’ve been interested in birds on golf courses for a long time, so it was an easy decision. Every penny has been worth it.”

Carter and his staff installed a camera in the tree in 2011 and provided a live Internet feed at harrisonbayeaglecam.org. After receiving positive feedback the first three years, Carter wanted to give Elliot and Eloise’s fans a better viewing experience this year.

Again with the USGA’s assistance, Carter was able to install a pan/tilt/zoom camera to follow the eagles outside of the nest and zoom in on the eggs, as well as a microphone to pick up their verbalizations and infrared capabilities to observe them at night.

And right now is an exciting time for the eagles: chicks are expected soon. I checked in on the webcam just before writing this and Eloise (I assume - they aren't wearing nametags) was sitting on eggs while making adjustments to her nest. Eggs are expected to begin hatching sometime around March 11, the USGA says.

How can you check out the eagle cam? Well, we've embedded it right here:

If the player above isn't working for you, go to harrisonbayeaglecam.org.

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