Peregrine Tower Webcam Project

Back from the Brink!

Less than 40 years ago the Peregrine Falcon was in danger of disappearing from the lower 48 states.  Thanks to efforts here in Idaho, particularly the Peregrine Fund at the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, these dynamic hunters are back.  For nearly three decades wild peregrines have successfully produced young at Camas National Wildlife Refuge on a manmade nesting tower located in an area closed to the public.  

Over the winter of 2016/17 the Friends of Camas NWR installed a web accessible camera on the nest platform with a view into the falcon nest.  The nesting pair returned in late March 2017 and began nesting activities.  Both birds attended the nest and appeared to be sitting on eggs into July.  However, no chicks appeared.  The pair left again in the September following the ducks south for the winter.  Subsequent inspection of the nest gave no insight regarding the cause of nesting failure.  Several explanations have been offered, including inexperience of either or both of the pair, nest disturbance during the season, weather conditions, and other unexpected events.  The birds gave no indication of concern about the camera.  Late in 2017 after the birds had left, the camera was relocated about 6 inches up on the post where it is mounted to provide a more direct view down and into the nest to provide clear view of the nest box floor.  This will afford visual confirmation this year when and if eggs are laid.  The camera will be back on line early April. 

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Where

The nest tower is about 2 miles from Headquarters and is not hard to see if one knows where to look. It is located in an area that is normally off limits to visitors.

Photo Credit: Steve Butterworth

Why

A primary mission of the Friends of Camas is to bring public awareness to the educational resources available on the Refuge. Anyone who visits the refuge that is interested in wildlife can witness first hand the marvel of migration that sweeps through with the changing seasons. The peregrine (whose name means “wandering”) follows this tide, spring and fall, and spends the summer here to raise its young. It is iconic of migration. It is gone in winter. Other times it is rare, wary, and fleet. The friends of camas would like to make this falcon visible via a webcam to the public.

How

The planned installation will use a weatherproof security camera powered from batteries maintained by solar cells. The camera will connect wirelessly to Headquarters and from there through another wireless link to Mud Lake Telephone fiber optics. Our greatest concern with this activity is that we cause no disturbance to the falcons. All work will be done in early winter once they are gone. Greatest care will be taken to make equipment unobtrusive. When complete, the camera will be accessible on the Internet through a link on the Friends of Camas Home page. Total expenses for installation of the system are estimated to be $6000.

Friends of Camas Projects