Hancock Wildlife News - May 17, 2009

Sunday, May 17 2009 @ 08:16 PM EDT

Contributed by: richardpitt

There certainly has been lots going on around Hancock Wildlife Foundation over the past month - and lots more to come.

Recent Events

On May 11 we had the busiest day in the history of our discussion forum - 477 viewers and members were online at once, counted over a 5 minute period at about 11AM (PDT). Our memberships in both the Channel Website (where the media gallery and live camera pages are) and the Discussion forum have grown tremendously in the past 2 months; 1390 new members in the forum and 777 new members on the web site- almost 25% more in just 2 months and the membership applications keep coming in.

Our new server (thanks again, Hancock House for allowing us to use yours - and driving you to get a larger one!) is breezing along with the load. It has allowed us to update our web software to the new glFusion package and we'll be rolling out some new and interesting features over the next while as we get used to its capabilities. You should already see one at the top of the main Channel page with the one-line scrolling list of the most recent articles.

The main close-up camera at Hornby has been "fowled" by the chick. We'll have to wait for a heavy, windy rain storm to clean it off - or until the birds leave the nest so some maintenance can be done. One of our members, Skipper, has speculated on what this cleaning party might look like - I'm sure you'll agree with us that it is appropriate when you see her picture. We've cut this camera back to 1 Frame/Second until it is cleaned - and turned the Wide-angle camera back on - it was off to conserve bandwidth at Hornby Island. Seems that high-speed internet is so popular there that the island is suffering a bit of a choke - must be all the people there watching our nests :)

The Hornby nest was in the news earlier for one of lifes more tragic moments. One of the chick became tangled in mom's feathers and ended up falling from the nest. You can read about it and link to the video from the article here which also has links to the discussion forum area for the nest.

There have been a number of changes to the video stream as well as what appear to be some unintended consequences from various upgrades to software forced on Microsoft users - like IE8. There also may be some ISPs and/or IT departments not allowing viewing of the cameras for some reason. You can check into what has been found and what problems people are having in the Technical area - and read a brief summary in the news articles.

The Delta-O.W.L. (Orphaned Wild Life) nest's eggs didn't hatch and we've moved the encoders over to the Delta-1 nest. This nest was a feature last year but due to heavy storm damage over the winter we didn't expect the eagles to use it this year - turns out we were wrong and they've laid 3 eggs, one of which rolled out and was lost. But the other two have hateched and we have another two healthy chicks. The PTZ camera in this nest allows an incrediblly close-up view currently and will be widened out and moved as the chicks get larger and start moving around the nest.

Coming Events

We're getting ready to put the underwater camera back into the outfall at the Chehalis Hatchery as well as again going for a camera platform at Eagle Point, just downstream from the hatchery where the river runs into Harrison River. This project is massive - huge batteries - over 1000 lbs, a helicopter, a 10 foot high platform to keep things above the water, 2 cameras, a 1 mile wireless link and remote control generator are on the drawing board. Anyone in the Vancouver area with talent or connections that might be useful in building and running this system should contact me (richard at@at hancockwildlife.org) 

There are several other projects also on the drawing board for the Fall, depending entirely on funding becoming available. You can help - see below. These projects include Bears and Whales as well as some ground birds and other species. All have the potential to be both fascinating subjects to watch and incredible subjects for scientific study.

We're looking for sponsors for these and other projects, as well as advertisers interested in showing their goods and services to our huge viewer base (over 300,000 unique visitors in the past month - over 5 million page views - one of the top sites on the web these days)

If you or your company might be interested please contact me for information.

Donations are up

Our new direct Paypal donation link has done a wonder for dontation. Now it is fast and easy. Hancock Wildlife Foundation is completely dependent upon your donations and our sponsors and advertising to cover the costs of our web activities, camera installations, education and research projects. It costs over $750/month for the computer system this web site is on alone - and further thousands/month for the bandwidth used to get you the video you see. Each camera installation has a capital cost of up to $10,000 or more (especially the Eagle Point one that is coming up) and an annual maintenance cost of over $3000. To date much of this has been born by our largest sponsor, Hancock House publishing and David Hancock. Doug Carrick has funded all of the camera install costs for Hornby including the outbound bandwidth. Other significant sponsors continue to contribute ongoing running costs such as the network bandwidth at Victorian Epicure and the Delta Cable's provision of network facilities for the Delta installations.

You and your companies are in excellent company when you donate to HWF and your company will surely be pleased with the results of advertising to our viewers. Every little bit helps so if you can point us to the right person to talk to in your organization we'll be that much farther ahead.

Happy Viewing


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