Charles Eldermire here from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. We’ve had hundreds of thousands of people watching our bird cams and many of you are beginning to know and recognize our special red-tailed hawk pair Big Red and Ezra as they start a new family together. A lot of people have asked how we managed to get a camera so close to their nest. The actual installation was no easy thing. To start with, we didn’t pick an easy location. The nest is 70 feet up a light tower high above Cornell’s campus with no nearby plugs or internet. In order to bring you the live feed we had to beam wifi hundreds of meters to the roof of Bradfield Hall’s specially installed antennas. Making the hawk camera a reality wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and ingenuity of a talented team of scientists, electricians, and computer specialists. This is Mark Dansker a producer in the Cornell Lab’s multimedia program. He’s wearing a helmet camera that will give you a bird’s eye view from 70 feet above Cornell’s athletic fields. So no surprises so far? Yeah I was really cold this morning! This is an extremely untraditional installation. Mark and the crew will be dealing with unpredictable weather, high winds, and numbing temperatures. He will also need to be mindful of the Hawks. Cornell ornithologists are ready with the radio to pull the installation team if the birds show signs of disturbance like circling or dive bombing. So we want to be at that pole. We are going to do the installation all on that side. Okay so the one spot for this camera the thing is it’s a wall mounted camera, this is the wall mounted one so here’s what we’re thinking. That’s pretty much out of his way right? Going to get a nice shot of him coming by. That’s right this is our nighttime camera. Can we go up a little bit? Most nest cans only have one camera but with the next being so inaccessible we decided to install a backup camera and redundant microphones The second camera has the added bonus of remote pan tilt zoom capability. So it’s gonna be half foot in. Perfect! That’s perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect. Despite Mark’s assertions to just how perfect this was going to be, it turns out the overall installation took over three days. While getting pristine live HD footage accompanied by amazing sound was a direct result of our efforts, the real result will hopefully be connecting people to birds. As you can see it takes a whole lot to set up these cams and that’s just the beginning. It’s all made possible by the generous support of viewers and donors. Thanks for your support and we’ll see you online.

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See what it took to bring live-streaming video of a pair of Red-tailed Hawks on Cornell’s campus. The technical crew worked day and night to install the cams early in the nesting season, before the hawks laid their eggs on a light tower 70 feet above an athletic field.