We would like to raise enough money to cover a year’s worth of expenses. This includes Internet access, maintaining the computer equipment, cameras, the owl box structure and the other structures that house the exterior cameras. We also need to replace a camera and laptop that were stolen so we can keep The Owl Channel project going.
The Owl Channel
The Owl Channel is a project located in the backyard of a home in Chula Vista, CA USA. We have an owl box that wild Barn Owls use to lay eggs and raise their offspring. Over the last two years there has been an extraordinary amount of owl activity. We have had two different pairs of owls raise nine baby owlets from the moment they hatch to when they fledge and leave the box. All of this activity has been broadcasted live over the Internet www.owlchannel.com/live for all to see. There is an international community of people from 91 different countries who watch, chat online and document virtually everything that happens.
Barn owls (tyto alba) are raptors and are found in many places around the world. They generally are more active during the nighttime hours. They nest and roost in the hollows and cavities of structures and trees that are large enough and high enough for them to be safe. Properly designed and constructed owl boxes provide safe refuge for nesting and roosting. A barn owls main diet consists of rodents including voles, mice, rats and gophers. During the course of the breeding season, a barn owl and a typical family of 5 owlets may consume up to 3,000 rodents. Barn owls are an excellent alternative to poisonous chemicals for rodent control.
What we are doing
We provide a safe habitat for the barn owls. They are monitored around the clock when they are in the owl box. We monitor the temperature and can cool it off when it gets too warm for them. We have Internet cameras inside and outside the box and they broadcast live video for everyone to enjoy. We have four cameras that are strategically placed to see the owls without disturbing them. We provide a Web site www.owlchannel.com to view the owls and chat with an extensive online community. The chat room is G-rated and is monitored by a team of dedicated owl lovers who ensure the conversations are appropriate for the current audience. We have many educators who watch the video streams in their classroom with their students. We also provide a Blog page www.owltlaws.blogspot.com that provides daily updates and provides interesting links to other animal related events on the Internet. We have a tremendous amount of followers who take snapshots and make videos and they post them on Web sites such as Facebook, Flickr and YouTube.
Why we need money
We personally fund The Owl Channel and everything related to it. We accept donations from supporters; however, these donations only cover a fraction of the costs. We have four computers and four cameras running around the clock and have a UPS device to protect the cameras from losing power and resetting which could possibly startle the owls away. Some of the computer equipment is in need of repair and replacement. One of the computers we are using to broadcast is very old and can barely handle the workload. Also, we subscribe to the most expensive Internet package offered by the local service provider to enable us to have enough bandwidth to broadcast all the cameras.
We had a home invasion last summer in which a digital SLR camera and a laptop were stolen. We used the camera to get extraordinary pictures of the owls in flight as well as roosting outside to the owl box. We use the laptop to control the cameras, monitor the chatroom, capture screenshots and create videos. We would like to replace this equipment this year so we can continue to share this wonderful experience with the world.