VIDEO: Florida is home to a live bald eagle cam
These birds of prey aren’t camera shy.
If you’re a fan of the kind of bird watching that can be done from the comforts of your own couch, you need look no further than Sarasota.
Meet Victoria and Nicholas, the residents of an eagle’s nest in rural East Sarasota County and the stars of this area’s very own live bald eagle cam: Eagle Country.
Eagle Country is a live feed that streams online 24/7 during nesting season, which in Florida lasts from Oct. 1 until about May, when the eaglets fledge, or take their first flight. The nest, which has been on private property since 2001, is on a working cattle ranch near the Myakka River.
The local rancher has asked that the nest location remain anonymous to guard the privacy of the ranch and for the eagles.
“When we put it out there, we thought this might be an act of kindness that might encourage someone along the way or maybe brighten their day a bit. So we’ve been thrilled that people love it as much as they do,” said Rachel Simms, who handles administrative duties at Eagle Country.
She is part of a small team of people who put in a lot of work to make Eagle Country a possibility. The prep work, she said, starts almost immediately after the eaglets fledge in order to get prepared for the next season. This includes digging trenches, laying conduit and running hundreds of feet of cable. It also means getting 60- or 70-foot lifts in order to get up in the trees. There are four different camera angles on the feed so that you can get a variety of perspectives while watching.
But all the work is worth the tremendous feedback they get from fans of Victoria and Nicholas, according to Simms. Turns out, the pair of eagles have fans from all over the world.
They regularly get messages from people from across the country and have received emails from people in France, England, Germany, Finland and more telling them that they enjoy watching the live eagle cam.
Simms said they have been blown away by the positive response.
“It’s been a pleasant surprise. We love that we have friends from all over the world,” said Simms.
She said she thinks people enjoy eagle cams because they are calming for people to watch and its like “taking a nature walk” or “having an on-screen pet,” only in this case it’s a wild animal you are looking at through your screens.
One of the most touching responses they have gotten is from a lady whose mother has Alzheimer’s who wrote them to tell them that their mother enjoys watching the eagles and that it is one of the main things that brings her joy and comfort. It’s also something that she remembers.
Those are the kind of things that makes the work rewarding, according to Simms.
The rancher was first motivated to start filming after the eagles rebuilt their nest following its destruction by Hurricane Irma in 2017. Their persistence and tenacity, according to Simms, was inspiring — and so they decided to share that inspiration with the world. Since they started filming, the eagle’s nest has had to be rebuilt a second time.
But Victoria and Nicholas aren’t the only stars of the show anymore. This season, they were joined by eaglets Hickory and Mossy, who were hatched on Feb. 3 and 5.
Viewers of the eagle cam have a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks, according to Simms, who said now is the perfect time for new viewers to start tuning in.
“It should be fun over these next few weeks,” said Simms. Soon they will start getting their pin feathers in, then they’ll start learning to flap and use their wings while also starting to walk on their own two feet. Then pretty soon they’ll start tearing off pieces of food and feeding themselves.
It’s an exciting time for Eagle Country.
To tune in or find out more information visit eaglecountry.net
This story originally published to heraldtribune.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the new Gannett Media network.