Thanks to an increased grant provided by the USGA Green
Section, the Eagle Cam at the Bear Trace at Harrison Bay in Harrison, Tenn., is
back for a fourth consecutive year – now with state-of-the-art bells and
A pair of bald eagles, Elliot and Eloise, built a nest in
a tree on the golf course at Harrison Bay in 2010, garnering the attention of
course superintendent Paul Carter. In an effort to provide a safe and nurturing
environment for arguably America’s most iconic creature, Carter sought
assistance from the USGA.
In the meantime, Carter and his staff wanted to get a
closer look at the nesting activities of Elliot and Eloise and also share it
with the public. The USGA echoed Carter’s enthusiasm when asked for help with
“It was an absolute no-brainer from our end,” said Jim
Moore, the director of education for the Green Section. “We’ve been interested
in birds on golf courses for a long time, so it was an easy decision. Every penny
has been worth it.”
Carter and his staff installed a camera in the tree in
2011 and provided a live Internet feed at harrisonbayeaglecam.org.
After receiving positive feedback the first three years, Carter wanted to give
Elliot and Eloise’s fans a better viewing experience this year.
Again with the USGA’s assistance, Carter was able to
install a pan/tilt/zoom camera to follow the eagles outside of the nest and
zoom in on the eggs, as well as a microphone to pick up their verbalizations and
infrared capabilities to observe them at night.
“Now we can stalk them 24 hours a day, seven days a
week,” joked Carter, who oversees the agronomy efforts for all three Bear Trace
courses, which are owned by the state of Tennessee.
Carter, who has helped the Bear Trace win a 2013 Golf
Digest Green Star Award and a 2014 GCSAA/Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in
Golf Award recently, is thankful for the USGA’s mutual interest in Eagle Cam.
“I wouldn’t be able to share this without the generosity
and support of the USGA,” said Carter. “We wanted to show that this can be an
environmental sanctuary and they’ve helped us reach more people than we could
have on our own. I hope they’ve gotten as much out of it as we have.”
Eloise laid her first egg of 2014 on Feb. 4 and a second
one on Feb. 7. With a standard incubation period of 35 days, the arrival of the
new eaglets is expected around March 11.
Four juvenile eagles, two each from 2011 and 2013
hatchings, are often seen on the grounds at Harrison Bay, as eagles tend to
stay within a mile of the nest before fully maturing around age 5.
You can follow the Harrison Bay Eagle Cam on Twitter: @HBSPEagleCam.
Flyntz is an associate writer for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.