Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Falcon WebCam Kicks Off New Season from Roof of Jersey City Skyscraper

The Jersey City FalconCam – a popular webcam that captures the breeding, nesting, feeding and flight of a family of endangered Peregrine Falcons living on a Jersey City skyscraper – goes live this week for its 14th season of daily live webfeeds. For the first time, the FalconCam will be operated by the nonprofit Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF) rather than the New Jersey State Division of Fish and Wildlife.

“We are so excited to relaunch this unique and inspirational FalconCam, especially for the thousands of devoted falcon lovers who thrill to their every move on this real New Jersey ‘reality show,’” said David Wheeler, CWF Executive Director. “For New Jerseyans to be able to experience the fastest animal on earth from their own computer screens is so rewarding because it connects us with the nature all around us, even in our most densely populated cities.”

After state funding could no longer cover the webcam, CWF assumed the responsibility for managing the FalconCam. CWF is relying on corporate and individual donations to fund the new camera, related equipment, and other costs, which combine to total $10,000 in expenses.

CWF biologist Ben Wurst installed the new equipment last week, adding new components that will give the viewer an even more “inside look at the falcons’ daily lives.

The FalconCam viewer experience will now utilize:

• a digital outdoor high resolution PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) camera that offers a scenic view of the nestbox, roof, and the New York City skyline
• a small “pinhole” camera was installed inside the nestbox that offers an eye level perspective of the falcons
• and a microphone inside the nestbox that will broadcast the sounds of the falcons and their high-rise city environment.

“In this digital age, the use of a webcam is a key component in engaging the public in wildlife conservation,” said Wurst. “To be able to share this with thousands of viewers is a truly magnificent thing, and I am very grateful for all of the contributions that have been made to support this program!”

In January, CWF ran a series of educational blog posts to help raise awareness for the state endangered peregrine falcons, and to raise funding for the new Falcon Cam. CWF also offers viewers the chance to join our free High Fliers Club, which offers members a chance to attend a falcon banding with biologists at this nest site in the summer of 2014.

Since 2000, a pair of peregrine falcons has nested on the roof of 101 Hudson Street in Jersey City. A webcam was installed inside the nestbox on the roof in 2001 to share the falcons’ annual life cycle with countless wildlife enthusiasts. Over the years the cam showed the ups and downs of the nesting pair during their nesting season from April to July. CWF also developed an educational curriculum, “Days of the Peregrine,” to help educate future generations about conserving endangered species, like the peregrine falcon.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF) has worked to protect at-risk species of wildlife in New Jersey and beyond for two decades. CWF utilizes science, technology, habitat restoration, education, communications, and volunteer stewardship to save imperiled wildlife from our state before they disappear forever.

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