Golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos
The golden eagle nest camera is situated in a remote bog in Soomaa National Park.
This territory has been known since the second half of the 20th century, when the legendary Estonian naturalist Viktor Masing (1925-2001) found a golden eagle's nest there. During the last quarter of a century, the golden eagles have had at least four nests in this area. The nest seen in the camera has been used by eagles since 2011, and a total of four eaglets have fledged here - the most recent in 2020, when we first observed this nest with a nest camera. All four nestlings have been ringed here and one of them has been seen later. The eaglet from 2014 was found deceased in Poland in 2015.
The golden eagles start decorating the nest with fresh branches already in late winter. Usually, the eggs are laid in the second half of March, but it is not uncommon for the so-called non-nesting seasons, when the nest is decorated with fresh branches, but no eggs are laid. There are up to two eggs in the golden eagle brood and the chick(s) hatch in late April. In general, however, only one eaglet fledges, even if originally two hatched. The weaker chick usually dies because of food deprivation.
The nest camera was set up by Urmas Sellis and Gunnar Sein from Eagle Club Estonia and Omar Neiland (Beta Grupp OÜ) at the beginning of February. We use AXIS F41 camera with a custom-made microphone from Omar. The main body of the camera is below the nest on the tree trunk, but the lens and sensor are at the nest level. Therefore, the camera seems quite small when seen from the nest. Additionally, we tried to camouflage the camera as much as possible.
The camera is powered by solar panels, and to save energy, the camera turns off when it gets dark, and the batteries are weak. Live broadcast from the nest resumes at sunrise. We transmit the camera image via 4G mobile internet, so in case of intensive network use, there may be interruptions in the transmission.
The camera is streamed through the Eagle Club Estonia’s YouTube channel. We recommend following Kotkaklubi channel in case the broadcast needs to be restarted due to technical errors, which may change the direct link of the broadcast. As the season progresses, Kotkaklubi channel will also feature all other nesting cameras of Estonian eagles and black storks, as well as a capercaillie camera.
The preparation and recording of the camera signal for streaming takes place with the support of Estonian Fund for Nature. Events in the nest are documented by the viewers in Looduskalender forum. The use of the stream from the nest for non-commercial purposes is not prohibited, but please let us know if possible (send a message to urmas(ät)kotkas.ee). Contributors are welcomed with each camera, as some components need to be replaced every year and we do not have any project support for hardware costs. Environmental Investment Centre supports the installation, removal and maintenance of cameras.
Golden eagle nest camera team and supporters:
Eagle Club Estonia – nest related actions, camera installation and information
Beta-Grupp OÜ – camera testing and setup, microphone construction, technical support
Looduskalender – forum on the Web
Estonian Fund for Nature – server support
Akukeskus Tartus – battery assistance
Environmental Investment Centre – financial support
Several private donors – to cover unexpected and expected hardware costs
Thousands of viewers – the most important, because otherwise the cameras would not make much sense!