PHOENIX — The camera is set, zoomed in and ready to broadcast the day-to-day life of a pair of bald eagles hoping to raise a family inside their nest at Lake Pleasant Regional Park.
On Tuesday, Dec. 18, the Arizona Game and Fish Department — in partnership with Salt River Project, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department, Arizona State Land Department and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation — began live-streaming from the camera perched near the bald eagle nest on Lake Pleasant.
“We are thrilled to bring this camera to fruition,” said Randy Babb, AZGFD watchable wildlife program manager. “Our goal is to provide opportunities for people to truly appreciate and connect with Arizona’s wildlife, and live-feed wildlife cameras such as this help us to do exactly that. People will be fascinated as they learn from and watch these nesting eagles incubate eggs and rear their young in real-time.”
Records show bald eagles have inhabited Lake Pleasant since at least 1979, with the first documented nesting attempt occurring in 1984. While no young were produced until 1993, 28 birds have since survived to take their first flight, known as fledging.
Two eggs were laid in the nest in early January 2018 and each hatched the following month. The two young successfully fledged in late April.
“Park visitors are always excited to catch a glimpse of these magnificent raptors flying overhead while they’re recreating at Lake Pleasant Regional Park,” said R.J. Cardin, director for the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department. “Now, through the addition of the eagle cam, everyone can enjoy this experience from the comfort of their own home.”
The camera feed was made possible through permitting and coordination with Arizona State Land Department, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation, and Salt River Project.
“These beautiful birds often nest in and around the state’s rivers and reservoirs, and we are proud to be a part of a program that allows more members of the public to view these majestic raptors,” said Kara Montalvo, SRP Director of Environmental Compliance and Permitting.
The bald eagle cam is the fourth wildlife camera offered by the department, which also provides seasonal views of wintering sandhill cranes in southeastern Arizona, a bat roost at Cluff Ranch Wildlife Area and an underwater pupfish cam. All the live streams can be viewed at www.azgfd.gov/livecams.
Viewers are asked to check the cameras frequently if there is no activity in the nest. Often the birds will leave at multiple times for feeding. If eggs are laid, viewing will be more consistent and predictable.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department Lake Pleasant bald eagle live-streaming camera is funded through Heritage and Pittman Robertson funds, the Southwestern Bald Eagle Management Committee and public donations.
“Viewers wishing to support the Watchable Wildlife program and its wildlife cameras are asked to consider making a donation,” Babb added. “These cameras are very expensive to install and maintain and we appreciate any and all donations.”