What Does It Cost to Watch an Eaglet Hatch?
The image above is Birdie from Harrison Mills, showing the egg tooth on the top of his beak as he began to break out of his shell.
As many of you know, we have targeted fund drives throughout the year - the most recent being the wonderfully successful drive to raise the $7000 needed to build a nest - with cameras - in the Delta 2 territory, to replace the one that came down in a windstorm earlier this fall. And thank you to all of you who made that happen - you're the greatest!
What we don't talk about is what we need day in, day out, week in, week out, throughout the year - so when an egg pips - we're ready!
And that's why I'm here today.
First, something we don't often think about - and without which we would have no website, no forum and no ability to share our cams - we pay of fee of $800/month for the server in Vancouver which hosts the website and provides space for our articles, the pages where you view the cams, hundreds of thousands of images, and around 3/4 of a million forum posts. This does not include Ken's time when he needs to go to Vancouver to see why it's not working and get it working, or the variety of tech/web/server costs that come up - and very definitely does not include the new server we will need at some point because the current one is getting older and needing more maintenance than it did when it was new (sort of like me, come to think of it!).
This $800 is almost 1/4 of our average monthly expenses - and it's the sort of expense that absolutely must be paid.
And interestingly, almost 200 people have logged in to the forum so far this month - and if just 32 of them would sign up to donate $25/month - we would have this covered! And it's easy - there's a link to click in a couple of paragraphs!
I made this image a few months ago and it's the avatars of over a hundred of the people who had then posted recently (and who had avatars) - so I'm afraid I am missing the avatars of some of our newest members - but it does give a sense of how many we are and how diverse we are - and how we all can come together to make something much greater than any one of us alone could do (clicks bigger).
So - here's my challenge to all of you who enjoy the forum and like the fact that there is a place where those who are interested can accumulate information from year to year about a lot of nests (and some critters who don't have nests - like our wonderful threads for pandas!) - and a place where you can relax with friends in our Garden Chat area, and talk about practically anything, and keep in touch with the wonderful people we're meeting as we watch the cams.
If it's an option for you - please click the button below, and sign up for a monthly donation. I just did that - and signed up for $26/month - because I know CanadaHelps charges 4% to cover their expenses, so donating $26 means HWF gets $25. (Disclaimer - the US dollar is worth more than the Canadian dollar this month, so it will only cost me about $20 in US dollars to make my donation - and I used my "frequent flyer" credit card so there's no foreign transaction fee; if you're not in Canada, check with your credit card company as there are some that don't charge a fee - and if you're in the US, at this time the fee will almost certainly be less than the $5-6 you'll be gaining on the rate of exchange.)
And I do know that $25/month may be too much for some folks no matter how much they love what we all have here (been there, done that) - and $10 or 20/month is also great! What we'd really like is to have a fixed amount of money coming in each month, so we know we'll be able to pay the server fees and a couple of other things every month without hoping for some sort of little miracle or taking money from a little stockpile that was being built for a needed but not within-the-next-ten-days-critical expense.
And that does bring me to a question that I've been asked many times (and, I have to admit, have asked myself now and then) - "Why can't I say that my donation can only be used for xxx nest?"
The hard reality is that we need almost $40,000/year to do what we do - and that's assuming we don't need to install any new cams or send a climber up a tree to reconnect a cable or clean a cam that was targeted with a spectacular poop shot or rescue an eaglet in distress as we did at Sidney a few years ago or replace a failing server (which we will need to do soon, I'm afraid) or any other "capital expenses" which I think will need special fund drives like we just did for Delta 2.
About half of that $40,000 is nest-specific (and I'll be getting to that in future posts - and for anyone interested in the big picture, we have a "Fundraising Discussion" thread here - forum/viewtopic.php?showtopic=812671 (it's members-only - but hey - membership is free - so please do join!) - and that's where I do the preliminary work on drafting my posts - and where I am hoping others will chime in and offer their ideas and help us make this work) - and the remaining 1/4 goes towards unexpected expenses that aren't related to a particular nest or that don't have any support base, but we'd like to have happen - stay tuned for more about that, and you can always see the big picture in the fundraising discussion thread.
So - "Why can't I say that my donation can only be used for xxx nest?" - because having the $300-400+ per nest per month that we need to cover site visits and whatever else is needed to keep each cam running is great - but if we don't have a website and a forum and an internet presence to send the signals out - it's all for nothing.
That said - letting people know in your donation which nest you'd like to support is important - actually vitally so. A few of us really enjoyed watching Uno grow and fledge at Delta 3 - but none of us (including me) pledged to keep a cam there. So those cams were moved to Delta 2, our first member-sponsored nest, to replace the cams that were lost when the nest tree came down. And when I signed up for my monthly donation through CanadaHelps - I had a chance to leave a message for HWF - and you will, too - so do let them know which nest you want us to keep streaming if we have to cut back; there are 1000+ characters, so do let us know why you enjoy watching that nest.
Thank you all for your support - and if you have suggestions for reaching out to other people or organizations, please stop by the fundraising thread and let us know!
Hancock Wildlife Foundation