Mark Madison speaks with NCTC Director Jay Slack and Steve Chase, chief of NCTC's Division of Education Outreach, about the NCTC Eagle Cam, Part Three
MARK MADISON: Hi. This is Mark Madison, and it's April 4th, 2011, and I'm at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, and this is the third of three Podcasts we're doing on the NCTC Eagle-Cam.
I have with me this afternoon Jay Slack, who is the Director of the National Conservation Training Center, and Steve Chase, who is the Chief of our Division of Education and Outreach, and they're going to talk a little about what's going forward with the Eagle-Cam after we had our original nesting couple disrupted this year.
So we had the male driven out earlier this winter, and, Jay, I'm going to ask you, what do we intend to do from here on in?
JAY SLACK: Well, first of all, we intend to keep the Eagle-Cam running. There's at least the resident female, as we understand it, going back in the nest. Another eagle is here, one that we speculate is probably a male that has come into the territory. So there's opportunity to see those eagles as they're interacting. Certainly from a biology standpoint you never know what might happen, so we want to keep that camera running.
One important thing from our agency's standpoint and from a biological standpoint is that we have no intention of intervening in any way with the biology that's going on between the eagles that are out there. This is a natural thing, and so you're not going to see us take any sort of management activity out there at all. We're going to let nature run its course, just as anyone should with wild animals and birds that you would come across in your yard or on your property.
So, we continue to run the nest camera and hope folks are going to be able to see the eagles, and then encourage them to learn more about eagle biology through research or through interacting with one another on the various sites. This is an opportunity to be thinking about eagle biology kind of at a higher level than we'd been thinking about it before.
MARK MADISON: Great. Steve, what type of reaction did you get from people who were watching the Eagle-Cam? Did they make comments on our BLOG and so on or requests?
STEVE CHASE: And thousands and thousands of people have been watching the Eagle-Cam for a number of years now, and, of course, when this type of situation shows its head, it's going to be emotional, it's going to be upsetting to people, but we feel very strongly that allowing wild nature to operate without any intervention from man is the best way to do things, and that's the way we will-- that's the way we've dealt with this issue and that's the way we'll deal with it in the future.
MARK MADISON: Great. Jay, we've had the Eagle-Cam for seven years. What can we expect for the next couple of years?
JAY SLACK: Well, as I mentioned briefly here a minute ago, is that from a biological standpoint, we don't know what might happen. Clearly, this territory is in flux right now. We probably think that there's not going to be any sort of mating or renesting activity if this pair were to bond, and so we don't think we're going to see any young eagles this year.
Hopefully, the territory being a viable one, and clearly one that's sought after, will be occupied next year, and we hope that next year we'll see a pair of eagles using that nest. And right now we have no indication that would lead us to believe that the nest won't be used next year. And we hope that's the case.
MARK MADISON: Like the old real estate maxim... location, location, location.
JAY SLACK: It is a good location.
MARK MADISON: Good waterfront property.
JAY SLACK: Yes.
MARK MADISON: Steve, what are we going to do to continue to keep folks informed about the eagle and to keep researching the eagle?
STEVE CHASE: Well, we have an intern working for us that's from the Wildlife Society, and she is spending some of her time right now learning more about these particular birds and learning about the behaviors that they've been showing, and she is going to be taking that information and providing us with occasional updates that we'll put on our Eagle-Cam site which can be found at training.fws.gov. Just get onto our main NCTC site and then click on Eagle-Cam and you'll see the Eagle-Cam updates that are listed on that page.
MARK MADISON: Thank you very much, Steve. Thank you, Jay. You've been listening to the third of three Podcasts we've done to update you on the Eagle-Cam this spring of 2011 at NCTC. Thank you very much for tuning in. If you would like to listen to other Podcasts, we have a number with conservation biologists and various conservation thinkers. You can visit the NCTC web site, which Steve just described, at training.fws.gov, or you can go to iTunes University and search under National Conservation Training Center and find our Podcast page. Thank you very much.
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