Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nestbox camera update

As most are aware the nestboxcam has been down for a couple of weeks now. The problem is with the computer that transfers the video from the cameras to our website and is severe to the point that the computer needs to be completely replaced. Fortunately though, this has happened in the “off season” so a delay of view shouldn’t cause too much unrest among all our falconcam fans out there.

Replacing the computer presents a challenge. Anyone familiar with state government and/or the present state of the economy can surely understand that we are dealing with very strict budgetary and purchasing limitations. Prior to this recent problem we had been tossing around the idea of changing systems to utilize a camera that transmits directly to the internet. If it is found to be a plausible option, this system could potentially result in fewer outages because of network problems. We ask everyone to be patient while we explore the options. Expect the nestboxcam to not be available in the near future but we of course would hope to have it back in time for next nesting season.

On a different note, we tend to concentrate on what the falcons are doing when we see them via the cams. Little is known about what they do when away from the Rhodes Tower other than occasional incidental reports we receive. I received one such report earlier this year. Jim Butch of Columbus sent me this picture he took out of his car window near the Whittier Street Peninsula on 5/6/08. For those of you unfamiliar with Columbus, the Whittier Peninsula is a popular place for birdwatching and is on the southwest side of downtown. From the size of the bird this looks to be Scout utilizing a puddle for either a drink or a bath... Interesting to see a glimpse into these bird’s lives away from the cams!

Via the ledgecam Scout and Orville have still been hanging out at the nest ledge--one of them often perching on the nestbox camera housing at the far end of the ledge. A couple of times one has been perched right in front of the ledgecam but without the platform it is very difficult to see leg bands!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

perch platform maintenance

Today we accessed the ledge to remove the perch that is installed in front of the ledgecam. This platform is designed to elevate the birds to the point that we can easily read leg bands. It's a few years old so we removed it to rebuild and will reinstall it later this year. Both adults checked in to try and haze us from their nesting territory. They swooped by several times but without there being young at risk neither was too aggressive.

As everyone probably figured out by now, the ledgecam still shots are back up! The initial problem was simply software related but the main delay was getting our web consultants authorization to access the system to troubleshoot. Several agencies are involved so it wasn't anything that we had control over to expedite.

Many people have emailed in wondering about an injured juvenile falcon that was reported to be at a local wildlife rehabilitation center. The bird in question was unbanded and so is NOT one of the Columbus young. Without bands to track it, the origin of the injured bird is unknown. Let me take this opportunity to use this bird as an example to point out to the critics of our banding process how valuable the information we get from banding is. Time, experience and the success of our program have shown that banding of the chicks does not cause harm to them and likewise is a very, very important tool for tracking their migrations. The young bird found recently had no metal leg bands thus where it came from is--and will always be--a mystery.

Finally, no news on Victory. Future updates over the fall and winter as necessary when there is something to report!