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Birdwatching goes hi-def with Axis
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology uses Axis network cameras to bring the secret life of birds to audiences worldwide
“Axis’ high-definition fixed and PTZ network cameras enabled us to deliver a highly immersive birdwatching experience to anyone with Internet access.” Charles Eldermire, Bird Cams Project Leader, Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
When the Cornell Lab of Ornithology relaunched its Bird Cams project in 2012, the team wanted to deploy camera technology that would provide a completely immersive experience for the viewer. To achieve that goal, the cameras needed to be network-based, deliver both high-definition resolution and high-quality audio and stream at high frame rates. Once installed in a nesting site, they would remain untouched for the season. Therefore, the cameras needed to be remotely controlled and extremely reliable under all sorts of weather conditions.
The Cornell Lab chose several models of Axis HDTV-quality network cameras with remote zoom capabilities. Depending on the available bandwidth at individual sites, the cameras stream in 720p or 1080p resolution and 30-60 frames per second to a workstation where the video is recorded and simultaneously encoded for streaming live to a third party streaming site like YouTube or Livestream. Anyone in the world with access to the Internet can log on to the Cornell Lab’s Bird Cams website to view any of the multiple nesting locations live or click on archived highlights of the past weeks, months and years.
Online viewership has reached audiences far beyond the traditional professional and amateur ornithology community. The Cornell Lab has received positive feedback from diverse viewers such as teachers incorporating the videos into classroom curriculum to housebound individuals and people living in places without access to nature. Since the relaunch, the site has logged well over a billion minutes of viewing. Further, donations from appreciative viewers are helping to offset the cost of the program.