Conservationists and filmmakers follow the lives of Imperial Eagles through hidden cameras from their warm and cozy homes. They are not alone. More than 90.000 other people also chose to watch their everyday life in the Jászság area. The cameras were deployed by MME and Filmjungle.eu Society in collaboration with Hortobágyi National Park. While watching the live show, filmmakers noticed something strange happening.
During the night, several carcasses of turkeys put out for the Eagles, disappeared. After night vision of the cameras had been enabled, the thieves were revealed. Red foxes easily got through the electric fence.
Right now, there are two cameras broadcasting about the lives of the Eagles live. One was deployed at a feeding station, where a Fox and an Eagle had a quarrel recently. The footage has occurred in the national media too.
- We established the feeding station in order to provide the Eagles safe food source during winter, when it is normally scarce, so that the Eagles are more prone to eat poisoned food. - Márton Horváth, Helicon Life programme manager, said.
- We fenced it around with electric fence to make sure that only birds get to the food, however, there must be a „weak spot”, which was found and out tricked somehow by Foxes. - Tibor Juhász ranger of the Hortobágyi National Park added.
- Lots of people follow the broadcast live, although Eagles cannot be seen all the time. Ravens and Magpies are regular visitors; Eagles need more luck, however. If fed well, it may take two or three days to come again. Anticipation is the most exciting part of it! - As Ágnes Kiss film-maker put it. So far only young Eagles showed up at the feeding station, old ones haven’t occurred yet, which might be the result of the mild winter. – Most interesting events have happened during the night recently. We could get an insight into the life of the Red Fox, for example, two Foxes „dancing” while standing on two legs, which has never been seen before by the staff working at the Filmjungle.eu Society. - Ágnes Kiss added. She keeps an eye on what is happening using her cell phone, when away from the computer.
Marcell Zsolt Tóth, who is in charge for online broadcasting, knows everything that happens at the feeding station, as well.
- The encounter of Eagle and Fox was remarkable, however, the other day we just witnessed the presence of three Imperials and one Whitetail at the site. These moments make all this worthwhile. - said the award-winner nature film-maker, who always dreamed of creating a movie just by sitting at home watching the monitor.
- We thank Ustream, the Hungarian-American startup company, for recognizing how extraordinary, what we can showcase with their help. They provided us a user interface that could handle several cameras at the same time, make it easy to repeat interesting parts, etc. These features made our service very popular among Eagle-lovers.
- Live HD broadcasting has only been a dream for a long time. Eventually, continuous developing work resulted in what can be seen today. - pressed by Csaba Magyar, associate at iOutlet.
- Unfortunately, solar panels didn’t generate enough energy during the winter, so we could only broadcast by day. As daily hours get longer, we will start to test the system during the night. Hopefully, by the time spring arrives, we are able to run the show day and night.
Changing trends in nature film-making
Nature film making has changed a lot recently. Nowadays, cameras are smaller, more sensitive than ever and capable of capturing images day and night and, above all, doing all this live. Recognizing this tendency, MME and Filmjungle.eu Society have started deploying cameras and photo traps. Devices are utilized mainly in the project Helicon (LIFE10NAT/HU/019) and the Hungarian meadow viper Life+ project (LIFE07 NAT/H/000322)
Several dozens of these devices „work” in the wild, having recorded several thousands of hours of footage already. By the end of 2014, an educational movie, titled Small Cameras, Big Animals, would be put together with the support of the Media Council. Documentaries on the life of the Eastern Imperial Eagle and the Hungarian Meadow Viper will also be on screen; however, the impatient ones can follow things live, through an online service.
Nature-film without cameraman
Probably the biggest obstacle in filming natural behaviour is the person itself behind the camera. Disturbance of human presence can be avoided by perfect camouflage or automatic gear. First, automatic-triggering cameras, then photo traps appeared. In the beginning, these were low-resolution cameras capable of working only by day. Nowadays, one can find devices with tons of features, e.g. super-sensitivity, night-vision, HD format capability, even in supermarkets. Passive watchers have turned to active ones, who send their observations and recordings to conservationists and contribute a great deal to the success of conservation programmes.
Online broadcasting: http://www.imperileagle.hu/hu/content/webkamera
- Dancing Foxes in the rain (first they are dancing in the back, then, in the middle of the footage they appear quite close)
- Encounter of Fox and Eagle by day
- „Turkey-thieves” got caught on tape
Still pictures of the encounter of Fox and Eagle:
Eastern Imperial Eagle’s nest: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/parlagi-sas-fészek-kamera
Eagle S.O.S. short-films:
Nest of White-tailed Eagle pair: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/réti-sas-fészek
Dávid Attila Molnár nature-film maker