Share it! Science : Decorah Eagles of the Raptor Resource Project Continue to Teach and Entertain

Decorah Eagles of the Raptor Resource Project Continue to Teach and Entertain

Petrarchan47 at English Wikipedia, Creative Commons
Spring is the time when we greet new life and through the first half of the year there is a great opportunity to observe nesting Bald Eagles through the Raptor Resource Project's live stream eagle cam. The Raptor Resource Project put out their first eagle cam in 2007. The camera is fixed atop a tree housing an eagle nest in Decorah, Iowa. In 2011 they switched over to a Ustream live stream and the project went viral. I'll admit I was one of those people watching the camera as if it were a popular sitcom. It is addictive!

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If you tune into the live streaming video in your classroom or home, you might see the parent eagles bringing food to the chicks, preening, or cleaning up the nest. You'll see this majestic bird gently tuck her babies under her body to keep them warm. With night vision, the video continues 24 hours a day so we can all watch the comings and goings of both parents.
Throughout the years as more and more people tune in, more opportunities for education and sharing of educational projects surrounding the eagle cam are coming about. The Raptor Resource Project is hosting two forums that will be great resources for those of you who would like to use this in your school or home classrooms. The first forum is "Links to Eagle Activities for Teachers, Parents and Grandparents" and the second is "Education in Action" a place to share how you are using the eagle cam in the classroom and to get new ideas from others.

I found in years past that if I was teaching in a room where we had a projector or a spare computer set up that having the video streaming throughout the day was not a major distraction during the student's work and allowed for some great discussion as teachable moments came up on screen. Unfortunately, there are now advertisements on the feed, so be aware of this if you are using it in your classroom. If you pay for a Ustream membership you can avoid the ads. 

Watching the eagles gives so many opportunities for learning. Science topics such as food webs, ornithology, animal behavior, ecology and wildlife biology are fairly apparent. The story of the Bald Eagle as a national symbol and the Endangered Species Act are great ways to incorporate this project into social studies, government and history.

In addition to the live feed, the Raptor Resource Center Youtube page, Raptor Resource blog, and the forums you may wish to check out these related books: "Three Little Eagles and How They Grew: Jacob's Story Decorah eagles" is the story of a boy who fell in love with watching video of the Decorah Eagles. "Decorah Eagles: A Love Story" a photographic account of the Decorah Eagle pair, and "Bald Eagle Nest: A Story of Survival in Photos" a beautiful photographic story of a pair of Bald Eagles in Montana.

Eagle Resources:

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