Miles Citians have been watching the eagles nest on West Main Street from below ever since it was built, about seven years ago, but now they can get a much better look from above the nest with the Miles City Eagle Cam.
And the footage can be shared with the world, through a live stream on the Internet.
Several technical problems had to be overcome, but the long-awaited moment has come.
After seven months of planning, the camera was installed the end of February, just hours from the eagles’ return, with the help of the Miles City Fire and Rescue’s ladder truck and personnel.
Then the work was focused on running the cable to the nearby ROCKS building for the Mid-Rivers connection. The weather hampered that process.
On April 7 the truck was called into action again for repairs. Though workers had to get somewhat near the nest, the eagles did not seem to be bothered by it.
Information Officer Cathy Stewart from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said in an e-mail a few days ago, “The problems we were experiencing were due to a broken wire within the cable near the camera itself. The repairs were made, hardware was re-tested and the camera has been streaming flawlessly for approximately 24 hours now. A few of us even checked on them during the night, as the camera has infrared capability.”
“I, personally, have already learned a lot about bald eagle nesting behavior! They do not appear to be disturbed by the camera. There appears to be one egg, possibly two, in the nest,” she added.
Work was still being done at that time to ensure it was operating properly, before a heavy influx of users began to access the Web site, but now it is ready for viewing.
The camera providing 24-hour, live-feed footage of nesting bald eagles is officially live today.
Word passed quickly around town and beyond, however, and even before the announcement, many eyes had already studied the nest and its inhabitants.
The nest is approximately eight feet wide and sits 98 feet high in a cottonwood tree. It has been used consecutively for five years by nesting pairs. The eagles are currently on the nest, and from what can be viewed, there are two eggs in the nest.
“We have already learned so much from this opportunity,” said Brad Schmitz, FWP Region 7 Supervisor. “Not only about this pair of eagles in particular, but also this technology that may be used in future projects.” FWP expects believe the resident bald eagles have an enormous amount of information to share with the community.
There are two ways to access the live stream video:
2. Go to http://click2stream.com , scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “view our cameras worldwide,” navigate to Montana and click on Miles City; the video “Miles City Eagle Cam” will come right up.
This project has not just been an FWP project.
“It has truly been a community project”, Stewart said.
Immediately after beginning to pursue the idea, support and offers to help began coming out of the woodwork. Organizations directly involved have been Yellowstone Valley Audubon, ROCKS After-School Program, Mid-Rivers Communications, Department of Transportation, Miles City Fire and Rescue, City of Miles City, Kiwi Pete’s Tree Service, Technologies Plus and FWP. Individuals and entities providing skills or monetary donations include Dean Hanvold of Technologies Plus, Kiwanis, Builder’s Club-Washington Middle School, Holy Rosary Healthcare Foundation, Dr. Williams, Jay and Denise Harvey, Ron Thomas and Ruben Oberlander.
Anyone interested in making donations for the monthly Internet service and future maintenance can make a check out to ROCKS and bring it by the local ROCKS office or mail it to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, P.O. Box 1630, Miles City, MT 59301 and put it attention to Cathy Stewart.
For further information on the Miles City Eagle Cam, please contact Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks at 406-234-0900.