Putting a webcam in the middle of a forest is no simple task, but MN.IT staff are experts at leveraging cutting-edge technology in creative and innovative ways to help our agency partners meet their business objectives. For the second year running, Minnesotans can get a rare glimpse into the nest of a Bald Eagle without disturbing the majestic creatures by checking out the Department of Natural Resources’ Eagle Cam.
The exact location of the eagle’s nest is being kept confidential to protect the birds, who may abandon a nest if it is disturbed too much. Bald Eagles are a protected species, and it’s illegal to disturb a Bald Eagle nest without a permit. The DNR’s Eagle Cam allows Minnesotans to watch the wild birds go about the natural process of raising young, without jeopardizing the safety of themselves or the animals.
To provide the live web stream, MN.IT @ DNR staff mounted a high definition video camera on a tree limb about 10 feet above the eagle’s nest. The camera’s network cable is then connected to a small antenna, which then creates a second link to the main antenna about ¼ mile away. The second antenna is connected to the Internet via a 4G virtual private network connection.
DNR staff capture the video stream at the agency’s St. Paul headquarters, and then send the stream to MN.IT’s main offices for hosting. This year, the DNR is offering a mobile stream of the Eagle Cam in addition to desktop viewing. In 2013, nearly 165,000 people from all 50 states and 125 different countries viewed the Eagle Cam. It’s just another way MN.IT is helping connect Minnesotans with state government.