Travis Frank

Travis Frank’s motto is "Livin’ the dream." That means he’s on the water or in the field 300 days a year. He’s been a fishing guide at Trophy Encounters for the past 10 seasons chasing Minnesota’s toughest fish, the muskie. When he’s not on the water, he's in the deer stand or chasing Midwest fowl.

Posts about Birding

Crazy Over A LIVE Loon Cam

Posted by: Travis Frank Updated: May 5, 2010 - 10:54 AM

 

Image courtesy of Mike Lentz

Image courtesy of Mike Lentz

Did you know the average life span of a loon is 30 years? Loons grow 2-3 feet in length. And how about this one... Loons can dive more than 200 feet below the surface of the water.  I didn't know that either, but after working on this project for the past 3 springs, I have become a bit of a wise guy in the world of loons.  Welcome to Loon Cam 2010!

Minnesota's state bird will once again be front and center this spring as our crew at Minnesota Bound has launched its famous "Loon Cam". The Loon Cam first made its appearance in the spring of 2008, and was an immediate success. Last year the cam had a half a million views over the short thirty day period.  This year we willl surely blow that away. The response has been overwhelming, and it's one of the most watched wildlife webcams in the world.

So what can you see?  Well, basically everything.  Since the loon cam went LIVE about a week ago, we've witnessed the loon mating rituals, nest building, territorial battles, and even a few intruders.  Not only that, but the actual laying of the egg has been a popular discussion. Today we witnessed mother loon lay the first of what we anticipate being 2 eggs.  Will she successfully lay another?  Will her eggs hatch?  We will have to wait along with everyone else.  

Larry Backlund is the resident loon expert and he shares years of experience.  He has a way with words that captivates the audience every year, and his genuine care for the loons is unmatched.  Larry has been successful with his loon nesting platform for over a decade, a feat that is pretty tough considering most loon nests are used less than 50% of the time.  Regardless, he has the passion, and he knows how to share it with all of the viewers.

This year the Loon Cam will run from April through June.  Whether you are a bird watching guru, or just an outdoor enthusiast, this rare look will certainly keep you occupied while at work, home or in the classroom.  Oh, did I mention we added sound and night vision to the camera this year?  Yep, these features give the ultimate in bird watching, and are sure to make the 2010 season one for the record books.  You'll just have to watch for yourself!

Watch the LIVE Loon Cam

LIVE Eagle Cam

Posted by: Travis Frank Updated: March 9, 2010 - 2:48 PM

Welcome to the LIVE Bald Eagle webcam that gives us a rare look into the life of a Minnesota nesting pair.  Photo courtesy of Bryan Wagner

Interested in LIVE webcams?  They are becoming the new craze across the internet.  My boss, Mr. Ron Schara, former Star Trib Writer, and Minnesota Bound TV Personality, has a hankering for them himself, and for the past several years we've been doing our best to bring you LIVE action.  Have you heard of our Live Loon Cam?  It's been our biggest claim to webcam fame thus far.  It's been a 4 year success to date, but now enter into 2010, and we have more dreams for your viewing pleasure.  Let me explain.

I started this particular project several months ago.  My mission was to bring live Bald Eagle action to the web.  It's been done before, but it has been Ron's dream to do his own, and my research has shown that it can be done better.  I teamed up with a local company called Broadband America.  They specialize in bringing wireless internet out to the country and hard to reach locations.  Once we figured out that small wireless internet puzzle piece, we needed to broadcast the feed across the world.  Enter the folks at WildEarth.tv.  They are an African based company that does just that - rebroadcast our live signal to the masses. 

With the two needed technologies in place, we decided to move forward.  Next we had to figure how we were going to get into an eagle nest within our Broadband wireless boundaries.  It didn't take us long and we found our nest, eagles and perfect scenario off the bank of the Crow River.  A quick call with our buddies at the DNR to obtain permission and we were set to go.  During a frigid -20 degree day in January, we got a boom truck and up we went.  Seventy-five feet to be exact, and there we hung the camera overlooking the nest.  After a few weeks of tinkering with signals, wireless connections, IP's, transmitters, bit rates and other things that I had no idea about, we got a live, solid, flowing signal.  Yahoo!A view of our LIVE camera feed overlooking the nest.

As I strutted across the room to show off my mad leadership skills to all of my fellow Minnesota Bound employees, Ron quickly put me back in my place.  "Why do you call it an Eagle Cam when there is an owl in the nest"  he asked. I was quickly brought back to reality.  I had all the pieces together for this picture perfect Eagle webcam only to have an owl show up first., Heck, I even have one of America's top Eagle experts, Scott Mehus, from the National Eagle Center, as our Eagle Cam blogger.  Uh Oh...

This brings us to our present situation.  Do we have a LIVE Eagle Cam or a LIVE Owl Cam?  Our Eagle expert still claims that the Eagle pair can retake the nest whenever they are ready, and he insists that this is highly possible, if not likely.  On the other hand, Owls are scavengers and are widely known to steal the nest of Bald Eagles.  As we contemplated the scenarios from our desks at Minnesota Bound headquarters, we had yet another monkey wrench thrown into the mix.  The owl laid two eggs! However we look at it, we have some pretty unique raptor action unfolding before our very eyes.

So if you have any interest in tuning in to LIVE Eagle/Owl action you are not to late.  It is happening right now.  Will we have an eagle or an owl?  Will we have chicks or not? How will this soap opera of Ma Nature play out?  Click here to go to Minnesota Bound to find out...

      

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