This June 2014 photo released by explore.org shows an owl sitting near the site of the explore.org live camera set up in Barrow, Alaska. A high-definition camera on a burrow near the nation's northernmost city is allowing researchers and any bird viewer with an Internet connection an unfettered view into the nesting den of an Arctic snowy owl. (AP Photo/explore.org, Tiffany Sears)

This June 2014 photo released by explore.org shows an owl sitting near the site of the explore.org live camera set up in Barrow, Alaska. A high-definition camera on a burrow near the nation's northernmost city is allowing researchers and any bird viewer with an Internet connection an unfettered view into the nesting den of an Arctic snowy owl. (AP Photo/explore.org, Tiffany Sears)

Live cam shows Arctic snowy owl, chicks in nest

  • By Mark Thiessen
  • Thursday, July 3, 2014 4:49pm
  • News

ANCHORAGE — A high-definition camera trained on a burrow near the nation’s northernmost city is allowing researchers and any bird viewer with an Internet connection an unfettered view into the nesting den of an Arctic snowy owl.

The camera went live this week and is trained on the nesting site where as many as six chicks are beginning to emerge from a burrow near Barrow, Alaska, on the coast of the Arctic Ocean.

Researcher Denver Holt of the Owl Research Institute in Charlo, Montana, is in the 23rd year of a longterm study of the owls and their main prey, brown lemmings, over a 100-square mile area on the tundra of northern Alaska.

“You’re not able to watch the birds 24/7, even with 24 hours of daylight,” he said by telephone from Barrow on Wednesday. “By having the camera, it just opens up another avenue and more periods of time we’re able to look and record.”

The camera is the latest addition in the Pearls of the Planet offerings of explore.org, the media division of the Annenberg Foundation, which provides live feeds from cameras directed on wildlife across the world.

Another popular Alaska camera feed on explore.org also went live this week, featuring the brown bears at Katmai National Park and Preserve as the bruins patrol the river and attempt to catch salmon at Brooks Falls.

“These live cams are about more than providing an incredible view of bears or owls during an amazing part of their season,” Charles Annenberg Weingarten, explore.org founder and Annenberg Foundation vice president, said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press.

“What we are doing is building out the zoos of the future, where animals run wild and people from everywhere can feel connected to the experience,” he said.

It’s also intended to be an interactive experience with Katmai rangers, Holt and others associated with different cameras interacting with viewers on the explore website.

The camera trained on the snowy owl is allowing Holt glimpses into the daily lives of the birds, like noting how many times a male will bring food to the female to monitoring the eating habits of both parents. The microphone on the remotely controlled camera allows researchers to hear what is happening.

“Some of the stuff might be science for the sake of science, like how often does she sleep?” he said.

But he gets excited by the answer.

“It’s just phenomenal to me that these females sit on the nest and they appear to sleep very little,” he said. “They’re constantly vigilant for potential threats to the nest, predators.”

He said it’s fascinating to see the females take breaks from the eggs and chicks, possibly to go to the bathroom, to stretch, to just get away for a little Mom time.

“We’re learning how often she just might take a break from her parental duties, but she’s always nearby,” Holt said.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is also a partner in the snowy owl project.

Online:

explore.org

www.owlinstitute.org

www.birds.cornell.edu

More in News

Raymond Bradbury preserves his salmon while dipnetting in the mouth of the Kenai River on Saturday, July 10, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai River dipnetting closed; Kasilof to close Sunday

The Kasilof River dipnet fishery is reportedly slow, but fish are being caught

Silver salmon hang in the Seward Boat Harbor during the 2018 Seward Silver Salmon Derby. (Photo courtesy of Seward Chamber of Commerce)
Seward Silver Salmon derby runs Aug. 13-21

Last year’s derby featured 1,800 contestants competing across eight days

Rayna Reynolds tends to her cow at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Animals take the stage at 4-H expo

Contestants were judged on the quality of the animal or showmanship of the handler

Emily Matthews and Andy Kowalczyk pose outside the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies headquarters on Friday, July 29, 2022, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Charlie Menke/Homer News)
AmeriCorps volunteers aid Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies

The 10-month commitment pushed them outside of comfort zones

People gather in Ninilchik, Alaska, on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, for Salmonfest, an annual event that raises awareness about salmon-related causes. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
All about the salmon

Fish, love and music return to Ninilchik

Alaska State Veterinarian Dr. Bob Gerlach gives a presentation on Avian Influenza Virus at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
State looks to outreach, education amid bird flu outbreak

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza is spreading in Alaska

Fencing surrounds the 4th Avenue Theatre in Anchorage, Alaska, on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022. Demolition will begin in August 2022 on the once-opulent downtown Anchorage movie theater designed by the architect of Hollywood’s famed Pantages Theatre. The 4th Avenue Theatre with nearly 1,000 seats opened in 1947, and it withstood the second most powerful earthquake ever recorded. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Efforts fail to save historic Anchorage theater from demolition

Anchorage entrepreneur Austin “Cap” Lathrop opened the 4th Avenue Theatre, with nearly 1,000 seats, on May 31, 1947

Mimi Israelah, center, cheers for Donald Trump inside the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska, during a rally Saturday July 9, 2022. Two Anchorage police officers violated department policy during a traffic stop last month when Israelah, in town for a rally by former President Donald Trump showed a “white privilege card” instead of a driver’s license and was not ticketed. (Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News via AP, File)
Alaska officers violated policy in ‘white privilege’ stop

The top of the novelty card reads: “White Privilege Card Trumps Everything.”

Ashlyn O’Hara / Peninsula Clarion file 
Alaska LNG Project Manager Brad Chastain presents information about the project during a luncheon at the Kenai Chamber Commerce and Visitor Center on July 6.
Local leaders voice support for LNG project

Local municipalities are making their support for the Alaska LNG Project known

Most Read