06.03.2011 | Rubriik: Veebikaamerad
The white-tailed eagle nest camera is situated in Matsalu National Park, which with its area of almost 500 km² is one of the most important nesting and stopover sites for waterfowl in Europe. Matsalu is a stopover site for over 2 million waterfowls, from which 230 000 stay for either a shorter or a longer period. The shallow Matsalu Bay, surrounded by coastal grasslands, alvars and reed banks of approximately 2,000 ha, provides a very good food source for white-tailed eagles.
Livestream from the white-tailed eagle nest can be seen on Eagle Club Estonia’s YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/Kotkaklubi.
The nest camera is installed on the oldest known white-tailed eagle breeding territory in Estonia – the first records of this date back to 1870 (Sits, 1937). The history of the current nest is also interesting, among other things, it can be seen in Rein Maran’s 2005 documentary Estonian Eagles (Gaviafilm, 2005). The documentary was filmed in 2002, when one of the adults nesting there was from the Turku area in Finland.
White-tailed eagles built the nest visible on the webcam already in 1996, after their earlier nest-tree nearby dried – the previous nest was found in 1990. The current nest has been permanently and annually inhabited and a total of 29 eaglets have fledged there between 1996 and 2020 (over 25 years), i.e. it is a very productive nesting site. The area is very suitable for white-tailed eagles – Matsalu Bay and surrounding grasslands – and as a proof of this, another pair of eagles have started to nest very close to the pair visible in the nest camera. The distance between the two pairs is less than a kilometer. It will be interesting to see how the white-tailed eagles, who fiercely defend their territory, manage so close to each other.
23 out of the 29 eaglets hatched in this nest have been ringed. As many as ten nestlings have been seen in later years, including the eaglet ringed in 2012, who we briefly saw in the white-tailed eagle webcam in Läänemaa in 2018, and the eaglet ringed in 1995, who we saw from the camera of the eagles winter feeding ground in 2011 and 2013. The nesting adults of this year – Eve and Eerik – have no rings.
White-tailed eagles start decorating the nest with fresh branches and hay already in late winter. Usually the eggs are laid in the second half of March. There are up to three eggs in the white-tailed eagle brood and the chicks hatch in late April. The eaglets fledge at the beginning of July, but will stay close to the nest until September.
The nest camera was set up by Urmas Sellis (Eagle Club Estonia), Omar Neiland (Beta Grupp OÜ) and helpers from Estonian Environmental Board at the beginning of February. We use AXIS F41 camera with a custom made microphone from Omar. The main body of the camera is below the nest on the tree trunk, but the lens and sensor are at the nest level. We tried to camouflage the camera as much as possible and hid it inside a dry aspen branch (hopefully the eagles won’t try to use it as nestmaterial). Therefore the camera seems quite small when seen from the nest.
The camera is powered by solar panels, and to save energy, the camera turns off when it gets dark and the batteries are weak. Live broadcast from the nest resumes at sunrise. We transmit the camera image via 4G mobile internet, so in case of intensive network use, there may be interruptions in the transmission.
The camera is streamed through the Eagle Club Estonia’s channel. We recommend following Kotkaklubi channel in case the broadcast needs to be restarted due to technical errors, which may change the direct link of the broadcast. The golden eagle nest camera is already broadcasted on the channel and as the season progresses, Kotkaklubi channel will also feature all other nesting cameras of Estonian eagles and black storks, as well as a capercaillie camera.
The preparation and recording of the camera signal for streaming takes place with the support of Estonian Fund for Nature. Events in the nest are documented by the viewers in Looduskalender forum. The use of the stream from the nest for non-commercial purposes is not prohibited, but please let us know if possible (send a message to urmas(ät)kotkas.ee). Contributors are welcomed with each camera, as some components need to be replaced every year and we do not have any project support for hardware costs. Environmental Investment Center supports the installation, removal and maintenance of cameras.
Eagle Club Estonia – nest related actions, camera installation and information
Beta-Grupp OÜ – camera testing and setup, microphone construction, technical support
Looduskalender – forum on the Web
Estonian Fund for Nature – server support
Akukeskus Tartus – battery assistance
Environmental Investment Center – financial support
Mitmed eraannetajad – to cover unexpected and expected hardware costs
Tuhanded vaatlejad – The most important, because otherwise the cameras would not make much sense!