Thursday, April 19, 2012

Better luck next year, let's hope

The Harrison Bay Eagle Cam Project has been a source of great pride, excitement, and yes, even disappointment this year. The failure of the eaglets to survive is not a failure of the project but rather a common act of nature. It is a quick reminder that we are watching wild animals in their natural environment and with that come the good and bad aspects of nature.
Whether it was the unusual early spring temperatures this year or the disruption of the storms and tornado that came through our area or just simply nature itself that caused the nesting attempt to fail we may never know. This year’s project was a great learning experience and allowed us to accomplish exactly what we set out to do; view and experience the nesting process of the two bald eagles that so graciously call our golf course home. So with that in mind the project itself was not a failure but a resounding success.
Since December 2010 when the eagles first arrived at the golf course til now the sight of them flying overhead has not lost it’s sense of wonder and awe. The eagles have not left the golf course which gives us great hope for a return to nesting next season. They are spending the nights in the trees near the nest tree and have built several roosting platforms around the golf course where they can peacefully sit and keep watch over their domain.
We cannot thank all of the project supporters that made the project possible enough. Beyond the financial support they provided encouragement and expertise which aided in the project’s success. We would especially like to recognize The Friends of Harrison Bay State Park, the United States Golf Association Green Section, Volunteer Electric Cooperative, the East Tennessee and Middle Tennessee Golf Course Superintendents Association, and the TORO Company and their Tennessee distributor Smith Turf and Irrigation of Nashville, Tennessee for their generous support. The support of these organizations along with the continued support of individual donors will insure the Harrison Bay Eagle Cam Project will continue on for many more years.
We were equally grateful of our friends in the media which provided a great deal of publicity for the project with newspaper articles, radio and news interviews, and special features in magazines and websites. Articles such as these below created a great wave of excitement and brought many interested parties to the project.
Times Free Press
imes Free Press
The good news is the eagles have not left the area and regularly return to the nest, still carrying sticks and rearranging the pine needles as if they are ready to begin nesting at any minute. With this encouraging activity happening we eagerly look forward to our next nesting season, one which we hope will be successful on all accounts.
As with many first year projects there were many lessons learned which we will take note of with the intent of improving the project for the years to come. We quickly became aware of the need for a microphone near the nest so we could hear the eagles call out to one another and this will be our main priority as we look toward next year. Another area which we will look to address will be a quicker internet connection which will allow for a clearer, crisper picture without the distortion we experienced this year.
We are very thankful for the support and encouragement we have received for everyone. The website was a huge success with over 52,000 visitors from 37 countries logging on to view the eagles. We are thankful for those who have donated their time, talents, and money for the future of the Harrison Bay Eagle Cam Project.