For 23 years, Denver Holt, a researcher at the Owl Research Institute in Charlo, Montana has been traveling to Alaska’s northern tundra to study Arctic snow owls and their main prey, brown lemmings. But never before has he been able to observe them all night and all day from anywhere with an Internet connection.
“You’re not able to watch the birds 24/7, even with 24 hours of daylight,” Holt recently told. “By having the camera, it just opens up another avenue and more periods of time we’re able to look and record.”
The camera Holt speaks of, which went live this week is the latest offering from Explore.org, the media division of the Annenberg Foundation, and it’s Pearls of the Planet programming, which points high-resolution cameras at wildlife all over the globe. Their newest subject is the majestic-looking Arctic snowy owl and its nest, which lies along the coast of the Arctic Ocean near Barrow, Alaska, and now features six owl chicks.
The regal-looking Snowy owls, the species that delivers mail to Harry Potter, spend their summers in the Arctic, where they nest. The female guards the chicks, while the male hunts for food. In the winter, they move south, but not to anywhere warm. They wait out the cold season blending in to snow-covered fields and marshes, hunting rodents until it’s time to return north to mate and nest once again.
The camera also has an installed microphone, which allows viewers to listen in on what’s happening with the Arctic snowy owls.
Also a partner of Holt in the Arctic snowy owl project is the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
“These live cams are about more than providing an incredible view of bears or owls during an amazing part of their season,” said Annenberg Foundation vice president and explore.org founder Charles Annenberg Weingarten in a statement.
Weingarten also said that the live cams are building the zoos of the future, where people can feel connected with wildlife while the animals are allowed to live and roam free in their natural habitat.