Chesapeake Conservancy Crowdfunding to Launch New Wildlife Webcam

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Cam Will Feature Great Blue Heron Rookery on Maryland's Eastern Shore

ANNAPOLIS (March 2, 2016) -– Today, the Chesapeake Conservancy launched a crowdfunding campaign to help launch a new wildlife webcam featuring a great blue heron rookery located on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

A homeowner contacted the Chesapeake Conservancy and invited the organization to set up a live-streaming webcam featuring the rookery. For the last 10 years, each spring, the property has been home to 10-12 great blue heron nests nestled in a relatively small loblolly pine grove. Once the large blue eggs hatch, this rookery contains roughly 50 great blue heron at a time.

"We can share the wonder of these majestic birds live on your screen 24-hours-a-day, complete with infrared camera technology so that you can also see the herons in the dark," Chesapeake Conservancy Director of Communications Jody Hedeman Couser said. "But we need your help to make it a reality. The Chesapeake Conservancy did not plan to launch a new webcam this year, and so we did not include funds in this year's budget. However, for a small donation, you can help the Chesapeake Conservancy purchase the equipment, pay for the service to set up the webcam and broadcast the rookery all over the world. "

"We must move fast, as the heron customarily return to their nests in the next two weeks. We have to mount the camera quickly so as not to disrupt the rookery," Couser continued.

The Chesapeake Conservancy is seeking funding for this new webcam through the online fundraising website Go Fund Me. The funding goal is $10,000. To donate to help fund the Great Blue Heron Rookery Cam, visit www.gofundme.com/6cru5qxg

The Chesapeake Conservancy currently hosts two successful webcams featuring osprey and peregrine falcons which have each attracted more than a million views a year from around the world. "Tom and Audrey," are Kent Island's celebrity osprey couple, and peregrines "Boh and Barb " live in downtown Baltimore on the Transamerica skyscraper. These wildlife webcams give the Chesapeake Conservancy a way to connect people to the Chesapeake Bay and the species who call it home.

The Chesapeake Conservancy has secured a generous donation from a tree service based in Rehobeth, DE, to mount the cam in the 80-foot-tall pine, and a discounted equipment and installation rate through Skyline Technology Solutions, Inc., the same company that helped the organization launch the other very successful wildlife webcams.

According to the Chesapeake Bay Program's website, great blue herons live in colonies called rookeries. These tall, bluish-gray wading birds have long, pointed bills and graceful, S-shaped necks. They live year-round in marshes and wetlands throughout the Chesapeake Bay region and are also found on freshwater lakes, ponds and impoundments. The great blue heron grows to 4 feet tall with a 6 to 7 foot wingspan. Despite its large size, its hollow bones allow it to weigh only 5 to 6 pounds. The great blue heron eats mostly fish, but will also feed on insects, amphibians, crustaceans and other small animals. It silently stalks its prey in shallow waters, and then plunges its bill into the water to capture it. It will spend about 90 percent of its waking hours hunting for food.

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The Chesapeake Conservancy's mission is to strengthen the connection between people and the watershed, conserve the landscapes and special places that sustain the Chesapeake's unique natural and cultural resources, and restore landscapes, rivers, and habitats in the Chesapeake Bay region.
 
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