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Times Plain Article on Bob Anderson Talk

Raptor Resource Project: ‘Eagles, Owls and Other Birds of Prey’   Eagles in Nest                               
Local online eagle cam soars to fame

By Keri Bugenhagen
News Editor / TPD

    CRESCO – As part of adult programming through the Cresco Public Library, Bob Anderson, Raptor Resource Project Director was on-hand to talk about “Eagles, Owls and Other Birds of Prey” at the Cresco Bank & Trust Meeting Room last Saturday afternoon.
    Anderson, who studies raptors, otherwise known as birds of prey, is the creator of the Decorah Eagle Cam, which can be viewed at the Raptor Resource Project Web site, www.raptorresource.org, as well as at the Luther College Web site, www.luther.edu/eaglecam/stream/.
    Recently, the Eagle Cam has become a widely popular Internet destination, according to Carmen Buss, library staff member. “He [Anderson] mentioned to me last weekend that there were 76,000 hits to watch the Decorah Eagle Cam alone – not counting any of the other cams that are on his site. So, it’s just become quite a phenomenon,” she said.
    “I’ve worked with birds of prey most of my life,” said Anderson. “I moved here about 13 years ago to put peregrine falcons back on cliffs and I succeeded in that job, and I figured it would take me about three years and I was going to move back to Minnesota, but I kind of fell in love with northeastern Iowa.”
    Delving into the past a little further, it was about 17 years ago when Anderson placed a camera on a cliff in a falcon nest box in Minnesota – and that was the first bird cam he ever installed. “Since then, this has been my job,” he said. “I build falcon and eagle nests of different kinds across the country. Then I install cameras. It’s just great, fun work.”
    Then a few years ago, Anderson was part of another project, capturing raptor footage for a film called “American Eagle,” as part of the Nature series on PBS. Among many things, the film explores eagle nests, which can reportedly weigh up to a ton, although Anderson says it would not be unheard of for a nest to weigh up to six tons!
    The film also explores an era between the 1960s and present-day when the bald eagle was close to extinction due to DDT, a pesticide that has been outlawed in the United States. “Following their protection as an endangered species, bald eagles have come roaring back,” states the film synopsis. “But even in the best of times, life in the wild for these birds is a surprisingly tough struggle.” 
    The film, which shows a “bird’s eye view” of nesting eagles, is available in the Cresco Public Library collection. “We worked on the film for about three years, and a lot of the footage came right from the nest in Decorah. We also filmed a lot of it along the Mississippi River and a little bit in Alaska,” Anderson said. “It was really well-received; it was nominated for an Emmy, but it didn’t win, so I didn’t get to go get a tux.”
    Still, according to Anderson, he has the best job in the world. “I get paid to build birdhouses even though some of them are 550 feet off the ground…” he said, adding that the eagle nest in Decorah has struck a chord with people from around the world. “If you went to school at Luther, you knew somebody who went to Luther, or if you just knew somebody who knew about the nest, they would tell others about it. This site grew just by word-of-mouth – no advertising. It’s just had phenomenal legs.”

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