HARRISBURG, PA — Harsh winter weather can make it tough to get outdoors but, even in the worst conditions, the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s round-the-clock livestreams offer viewers a chance to connect with wildlife, all from the comfort of home.
A new 24-7 livestream from a black bear den in Monroe County launched this week. That brings the total to four Game Commission livestreams planned to run into the spring of 2021.
Last year’s Farm Country Eagle Cam, which provides a bird’s-eye view into a long-established nest in a giant sycamore overlooking scenic farmland, is back. The ever-popular Hanover, Pa. Eagle Cam has returned to the Game Commission after a year of being sponsored by Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. And the agency’s Snow Goose Cam got up and running at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in January, ahead of snow-goose migration through Pennsylvania, and the action is picking up.
All Game Commission livestreams can be accessed through the agency’s website, www.pgc.pa.gov.
The livestreams are a collaborative effort by the Game Commission, HDOnTap and Comcast Business.
HDOnTap provides the streaming services and Comcast Business provides the internet connectivity for the two eagle cameras.
“HDOnTap is excited to partner with the Pennsylvania Game Commission for this cam’s resurgence,” said HDonTap Co-Founder and CEO Tim Sears. “We were unsure if the opportunity would arise again for the live bear den cam. Watching the female and her cub was such a joy in 2019, it quickly became one of our staff’s favorite cams to watch.”
The den featured in the black bear livestream is the same one from the Game Commission’s last black bear livestream two years ago, and the adult bear hibernating there could be the same one. Female black bears typically breed and have cubs every two years. Based on sounds picked up in the den, it’s believed the adult bear in the livestream is with at least one cub.
Pennsylvania’s black bears usually are born in January and begin walking in about eight weeks. They leave the den when 3 months old. During the 2019 run of the black bear livestream, the bears left the den, which is beneath a deck at a cabin, on April 11.
Game Commission Information and Education Director Steve Smith said the agency’s livestreams allow viewers to see wildlife behavior unfold in front of them, at closer proximity than usually is possible in the wild.
“Viewers often tell us how appreciative they are for the entertaining, educational opportunities the livestreams provide, but also for how the livestreams have given them a whole new appreciation of wildlife,” Smith said. “Those are among many reasons the Game Commission’s wildlife livestreams remain so popular, and why we’re proud to bring them back again this year.”
This is the seventh year for the 24-7 livestream at the Hanover nest, located at Codorus State Park. The first egg of the year was spotted at the Hanover nest this week. HDOnTap Co-Founder Tiffany Sears said the livestream is one of the company’s most popular. “Since 2015, viewers have enjoyed over 40 million hours of 24-7, live HD video and audio from the nest, as well as daily time-lapse clips on screens worldwide.”
Bald eagles typically lay eggs in mid-February and, if the eggs are viable, they’ll hatch in mid- to late March, with young fledging in June, but continuing to stop back at the nest.
Snow goose migration typically peaks at Middle Creek from mid-February to March.
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