Jan 15 2011
On Thursday morning just after dawn, six hardy souls brought gear and expertise to the top of the Cathedral of Learning to fix the peregrine webcams.
It was 18oF and snowing and the job required a visit to the ledge. Would it be too dangerous? Would we have to cancel?
We hoped not. Both cameras were dead and we had to fix them very soon because the resident peregrines, Dorothy and E2, have become increasingly territorial and ready to defend their nest.
Fortunately, the camera that streams to WildEarth needed mostly indoor effort. Bill Powers of PixController installed new equipment to generate the streaming images. As soon as he hooked it up, a coworker tested it remotely. Success! All that remained was to clean the camera cover and adjust the infrared array for nighttime viewing.
The snapshot camera was another story. It refused to communicate with the Internet so the only way to fix it was to bring it indoors. Braving snow and a possible peregrine attack, Dave Marti of Pitt’s Facilities Management took the snapcam (pictured above) off the wall and brought it in. Dorothy and E2 flew by but they didn’t stop. E2 was carrying breakfast for Dorothy; they had food on their minds.
Indoors with the snapcam I realized I had to perform surgery to fix it. Thanks to Chris Gauss’ and Steve Sarro’s assistance, we successfully replaced the Ethernet cable and reassembled the camera. Whew! It was ready to go outdoors.
Back on the ledge, Dave finished the work on both cameras while Chris Gaus and Tony Bledsoe waved brooms to warn the peregrines away. By this time Dorothy was curious and a little annoyed. She strafed the ledge but didn’t attack. The guys finished up quickly and came inside.
As soon as they were gone Dorothy perched by the snapcam. “I’m warning you! This is mine! Go away!”
The cameras will soon be visible on the Aviary website. Watch here for news. Meanwhile, click on the imbedded links to see more pictures of our adventure from Bill Powers. (And here’s what the snapcam saw while it was being reinstalled.)
(photos by Bill Powers, PixController.com)