Twizzkid rants: Research, what Research?

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.

18 thoughts on “Twizzkid rants: Research, what Research?”

  1. What? You think a paper should be written each season about every nest? Research is done over years – not in one season on a nest. There is documentation regarding the principles in the nest – Mom, Dad, chicks – how many, birth order, how they react to each other, to different situations. There is interpretation of watching the interactions and body language between the adult and the interactions between the chicks and how the chicks react to the adults and vice versa. Then you have to take all that and interpret it without adding humanization into the mix.
    Research takes years sometimes to reveal knowledge about what is happening. Books are being rewritten on raptors because the cams give us 24/7 access. What was observed and interpreted before via blinds in the woods for a several hours each day is now being reexamined because of the cams.
    What goes on in a nest one season may not happen in the next season. Variables interfere and skew interpretation from the year before such as – interlopers into the nest, weather, prey brought into the nest, the health of the adults, the health of the chicks, predators and suitors.
    Just because you don’t know what these organizations behind the camera are actually researching, does not mean they are not researching. Just because they are not publishing papers every year does not mean they are not compiling information for one.

    1. mini rant: did I say anything about a paper being written each season? nope. I am well aware that research takes years. and “just because they are not publishing papers every year does not mean they are not compiling information for one“, doesn’t mean they are either. The point I was trying to make was that the term “research” is bandied about it many ways, including as a reason for decisions, and it simply makes me wonder, when they don’t produce any evidence of it. No “hey we are working on” “you can help by watching for” nothing, zip, nada. Okay, well not really, after my rant I was reminded about some and told about some research going on and I plan to do a “what I learned from my rant” post as soon as I can gather all the info up. So we agree that research is a studied profession that takes time and commitment, no argument from me there! Just wondering when some of the nests throw the “research” card around as reasons for decisions, if that is what is really the reason. Something like the whole “human intervention” statement, gee, we have food provided at nests by humans, banding done by humans, nesting materials provided by humans, etc etc, but somehow we need to really think hard when it comes to some undefined level of intervention. Just where is that line anyway? Okay, sorry don’t mean to go on to another rant. In a bit of a bad mood today and do apologize for my shortness here. I’m glad you spoke up with your thoughts! Twizz

  2. Oh so many great comments, Twizz if not for you we would be in the dark for long periods of time. You are amazing at everything you do & WE ALL appreciate it all. Everyone has made such good and valid points about the nests. I was told I don’t have a title so I didn’t know what I was talking about, mind you the thing I said was happening happened but again no title so my comments weren’t pertinent. .If you ask me (a nobody) we could be of great help in some case. OK sorry this is your rant I’ll get mine going in the next few days LOL!!!

  3. I think Bev said it quite well – short and to the point. Why is it that we might know more than they do about raptor behaviour and disturbances at the nest? Because we watch! Thanks again Twizz for all you do.

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