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Webcams livestream the nests of protected bird species
The mission of the Latvian Fund for Nature is to preserve the biological diversity of Latvia. To achieve this the Latvian Fund for Nature is engaged in practical nature conservation and protection activities, and also carries out different educational and communication activities to foster the understanding of importance of biodiversity.
Webcams at nests provide useful information to ornithologists and help to protect endangered bird species.
Since 2012 the Latvian Fund for Nature has used webcams to live stream the nests of protected bird species for educational and research purposes. The aim of the project is to ensure a 24/7 live video stream. In 2018 there were all-together eight cameras live streaming the nests of White-tailed eagles (two cameras), Lesser spotted eagles (two cameras), Eurasian eagle-owl, Osprey, Goshawk and Black stork.
To develop the camera systems, following factors had to be taken into consideration: the absence of electricity, the effects of changing weather, data transfer possibilities, history of nest occupancy, as well as technical possibility of building of camera system in close vicinity of nest.
ELKO delivered components for Rewind, a company that develops and provides innovative security system solutions. After weighing all factors the following products were chosen as most suitable: an AXIS F41 base station, an AXIS F1005-E sensor, a low-discharge gel battery, 2x1,5 m solar panels, a control mechanism that informs the user about battery status via text message, a 4G router and network coverage.
Webcam components should be placed in close proximity of bird's nest to ensure high-quality live video – the AXIS camera met the requirements. The camera consists of two separate parts, and the camera sensor is small enough that it can be integrated into the desired environment.
The implementation of the camera system was a complex process. ELKO ensured the availability of the AXIS camera for testing. Rewind provided system configuration and maintenance. Specialist from Latvian Fund for Nature ensured safe placement of the cameras and daily video monitoring. Data transmission is provided by Latvijas Mobilais Telefons.
Currently eight nests of protected birds can be watched for educational and research purposes. 24/7 live broadcasts have provided ornithologists with valuable information and has helped to protect rare species. In 2017 Latvian Fund for Nature’s live streams were watched more than 8,5 million times. The streams are considered to be among the most technologically best equipped nature livestreams in Europe.