Live from the penthouse perch: UT peregrines now on camera

May 1, 2013 | News, UToday
By Cynthia Nowak

It’s definitely a bird’s-eye view that visitors will find via the webcam at The University of Toledo Peregrine Project’s online site here.

This still from the UT Fal-Cam shows either Belle or Allen atop four eggs.

This still from the UT Fal-Cam shows either Belle or Allen atop four eggs.

With full color and natural sound, a camera-and-microphone system installed this spring in the nest box atop the University Hall bell tower is opening a window into the lives of the birds that have become campus favorites since establishing a nest in 2007. Front and center right now are UT’s two adult peregrines, Belle and Allen, as they take turns to incubate four eggs, which are set to hatch any day.

Those on campus and who have Buckeye Express as their Internet provider off campus should be able to see the live stream. The University’s IT Department continues to work on providing full access via all Internet service providers.

The UT Fal-Cam, by its informal name, was made possible by a grant from The University of Toledo Foundation and the Office of Institutional Advancement, a gift from the Toledo Naturalists Association, and additional UT support.

Numerous volunteers from the UT community also lent their time and talents, including representatives from departments of Information Technology, Facilities and Construction, Engineering Technology (whose students designed the camera interface as a senior project), Environmental Sciences, and the Center for Creative Instruction.

Toledo Peregrine Project, a volunteer group of peregrine fans, provided much of the planning and coordination between the UT groups and local wildlife organizations.

“Our committee’s fascination started with the call of UT’s beautiful peregrine falcons,” said Rose Kandick. “The partnership among the University, the birding community and private supporters made it all happen.”

The group also maintains a Facebook page.

Dr. Johan Gottgens, professor and associate chair of the Department of Environmental Sciences, which is hosting the live video feed from its online site, said, “The falcon-cam provides such a wonderful opportunity for our university to showcase and share this remarkable story on campus and in the larger community. I certainly plan to use it in my courses.”

Utilizing the camera to teach was also on the mind of Jan Dixon from the Toledo Naturalists Association, who said, “My hope is that the project will bring a unique educational opportunity to enrich our understanding and appreciation of the natural world and the need to protect the environment.”

The video also will help the Ohio Department of Natural Resource’s Division of Wildlife determine the best day to put leg bands on the peregrine chicks once they hatch; that date will be announced in May or early June.

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