Groundbreaking 24/7 video feeds offer rare glimpse into heron nest
Ithaca, NY--In a first for technology and for bird watching, thousands of people watched live this weekend as a tiny Great Blue Heron emerged from an egg in between its fatherâ€™s gigantic feet.
With high-definition and nighttime cams streaming 24/7 from the Cornell Lab of Ornithologyâ€™s Sapsucker Woods in Ithaca, New York, viewers around the world are now able to follow the surprising lives of herons, including rare views still little known to science.
â€œFrom the very first night, viewers witnessed little-known events, such as herons courting and mating by moonlight,â€ said Dr. John Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. â€œTheyâ€™ve watched live as the herons defended their nest, uttering rarely heard, spine-chilling defensive screams as Great Horned Owls attacked in early morning hours. Even the professionals are gaining new insights from these live cams.â€
The nest has survived several Great Horned Owl attacks, as well as a snowstorm that would have buried the nest in snow if not for the parent steadfastly sitting on the eggs.
More than half a million people from 166 countries have watched the heron cam since March 27. With around-the-clock coverage, viewers Tweet and post screenshots and video clips to help scientists document notable events.
â€œWeâ€™ve entered an exciting new age for understanding and sharing in the daily lives of birds,â€ said Fitzpatrick. â€œLive cams, whether they feature hummingbirds, eagles, or herons, are incredibly popular. Whatâ€™s most amazing is that these live videos are equally riveting for scientists, schoolchildren, families, and people of all walks of life.â€
On April 30, the nest had four hatchlings. The last egg is due to hatch any time.
To watch the heron nest live, visitÂ www.AllAboutBirds.org/CornellHerons, or check out the live feed below: