The elusive and beautiful Arctic snowy owl is being thrust into the spotlight this week, as a camera feed trained on its nesting den goes live for viewing on the internet. The Arctic snowy owl has a nesting den just outside of Barrow, Alaska and is keeping a watchful eye on her six chicks.
“You’re not able to watch the birds 24/7, even with 24 hours of daylight,” researcher Denver Holt of the Owl Research Institute, told the Associated Press. “By having the camera, it just opens up another avenue and more periods of time we’re able to look and record.”
The camera is the latest addition of live camera feeds observing nature from explore.org, which currently has 34 live cameras broadcasting habitats from across the globe and throughout every conceivable environment, from African watering holes, through Cayman coral reefs and honeybee hives, to the bison of Grassland National Park.
The project, dubbed “Pearls of the Planet”, offers an exclusive look at the most elusive animals on the planet, often to skittish to allow themselves to be observed up closed by humans and scientists. Unobtrusive glimpses into animal’s daily lives and habitats are crucial for scientists to observe animals naturally, without human influences sparking unnatural reactions.
“These live cams are about more than providing an incredible view of bears or owls during an amazing part of their season,” Charles Annenberg Weingarten, explore.org founder, said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press. “What we are doing is building out the zoos of the future, where animals run wild and people from everywhere can feel connected to the experience.”
The camera trained on the Arctic snowy owl is offering scientists vast insight into the life of an Arctic snowy owl mother, from the exciting to the mundane, such as how often the male brings food to the nesting grounds, the eating habits of both parents, how often the mother sleeps, and how the mother will abscond from the nest for lengths of time to stretch, use the bathroom, or simple have time to herself.
“We’re learning how often she just might take a break from her parental duties, but she’s always nearby,” Holt said.