Forgive me for this indulgence of a rant..(and I may regret it later).. but this question is just bursting out of my brain at this moment and has been simmering a long while. With the help of so many people, we track something like 40 active eaglecams here at the eagleholic blog and many proclaim to be research cams, using this as an explanation for decisions made. And yet, where is all this research? I would love to read it! I do know that some organizations, like IWS and Hancock Wildlife do a wonderful job of having citizen scientists, people who record almost every move at the nests with cams. But is it all compiled somewhere? Do they need us to help with that? Am I just missing these publications? (real question here!). We have all learned that eagles do fly at night, that many things can happen during a nesting season that perhaps weren’t known before. Is this research compiled somewhere?
When I first started watching eagle cams, at many nests there was a sense of “we are the only nest to watch, and we don’t want anyone to even acknowledge that there are other nests”. This sentiment seems to have relaxed over time thankfully at most nests (although not all), and I understand that at busy nests, confusion may reign when other nests are talked about, but the vehemence with which this message was often communicated, boggled my mind. I was actually shunned from some cams if I even mentioned the simple fact that other cams existed for those who, like me wanted to watch and learn a bigger picture than one nest. (okay, yep a little left over anger there). But calming down, as I say, that has all lessened some and happily many, many, many folks at cams now invite and enjoy those who are multiple cam watchers.
I believe so strongly that all who watch the eaglecams are precious people who have much to offer in their thoughts, opinions and observations. I have met so many of you through this site, and what a wonderful group of people! My wish would be that all cam operators respect the folks that watch the cams with timely information and truth about the reasons for cams. Maybe they are mostly for education, entertainment, awareness and sometimes organizational promotion, and to me that is just fine and valid reasons. Why play the “research” card? It is really not needed. We are smarter than that, and the opportunity to simply watch and learn is more is enough for this cam watcher! Don’t get me wrong, I generally greatly respect the organizations who put up these cams for us to watch. It is a huge undertaking! It is just this touch of elite tone that sometimes drives me crazy, as if using the word “research” somehow means the rest of us don’t understand why decisions are made. To eaglecam organizations.. if you want us to help turn all this data into published research, there may be some of the so many watchers who could help if asked. Otherwise, please share your research with us, if indeed that is what you have been doing. If not, that’s just fine, but don’t bonk us over the head as if we “don’t really understand the important research.” End of rant.