How We Did It
"The beautiful images of the ospreys and their family are now delivered from a state of the art network camera with night vision, and advanced light management capabilities. The Osprey camera of yesteryear used angle iron, garden hose, cable TV wire, and off the shelf cameras. Today's Osprey Cam is several generations removed. Most of the technology involved has existed in its present form for less than ten years. Once the image is processed by the ultra-modern IP camera, special custom waterproof category six cable, protected by marine IP66 rated flexible conduit and housings transmit the signal from the nest, through a router, wirelessly through the airwaves to the internet, and then to a secure server where the images are encoded, recoded, and re-transmitted via the web right to Atlantic Security's web pages to the whole world for all to enjoy."

We hope that you enjoy this year's Osprey Cam and join us in watching and learning about our feathered summer residents.

Click here to see to get news in the nest.
Copyright 2011 By Atlantic Security Inc.
944 Washington Ave.
Chestertown, MD 21620
All Osprey photographs provided by Atlantic Security Inc
The Osprey Cam was the brainchild of John Wayne, founder and president of Atlantic Security Inc, in 1996. He and his family had always enjoyed watching the ospreys that nested near their home, but when their then young children began asking "What do the birds do in the nest?" it became apparent that they would have to find out, as kids won't stop asking questions until they get an answer.
The first camera was mounted on a tree on shore and focused on the nest. The constant uninterrupted viewing of the osprey nest, although a major improvement only created more questions. The next step in 1998 was to put the camera in a place that allowed the kids to literally peer inside the nest and see the eggs crack and chicks appear. The questions did not stop.
By mounting a Panasonic black and white CCTV camera in a waterproof housing above the nest, we were able to capture the ongoing osprey activity with the constant incoming arrivals and departures of the parents; always creating activity...and well...more questions. The camera was held up by two pieces of metal and the cables to the camera were put inside a garden hose which ran down the pole, then underwater for 125' and up the shore to the house. The cables were connected to a small black and white monitor in the kitchen where the children would watch while they were having breakfast.
The post which supports the osprey nest was driven when some other 10 inch dock pilings were being placed on an existing pier. John said that he originally wanted the nest closer to the dock and shore, but after the first year of having the ospreys screaming whenever anyone approached; it seemed that it may have been close enough or possibly even too close!
In the following year, 1999, a state of the art time lapse VHS tape recorder was added, so that any action that was missed during the school day could be played back and viewed. Edited tapes of moments of interest were shared with the children's classes in school. Local Television personality Marty Bass wanted to show tapes on the Morning Show on WJZ -TV, but because the cameras had not been installed by union electricians, images from non-union installed cameras were not permitted to be aired.
In the following years, the camera was upgraded to a color camera. The kids took the entire process for granted like the daffodils and magnolia blossoms and spring always meant having breakfast with the ospreys. The kids knew when to expect their arrival, around St. Patrick's Day, and when to expect their departure for their migration south; about the time the kids bought school supplies. The osprey viewing was, and still is a family affair, with even the dog joining in; although the ospreys seem to watch her as closely as she watches them. They both hold their ground... well one her ground the other her nest.
When asked what inspired him to originally set up the osprey cam, John Wayne replied,
"I guess part of my interest came from having lived and worked in Africa, living in a Land Rover and always sharing breakfast, well, most meals with some type of wildlife. There was a lot of study of nature and wildlife going on in the National Parks when I lived in Kenya. In particular it was watching an acquaintance, Jonathon Scott, spent nine months in a dug out pit studying and photographing a female leopard raising her cubs. I knew in 1985 that there must be an easier way to monitor the Leopard's behavior. I really believe that is the reason it occurred to me to set it up what was then, in 1996, a closed circuit television system to watch the Osprey raise their young. It was simply just a technology we were using at Atlantic Security and not that difficult an application or transition."
As technology advanced, so did the Osprey cam, According to Dan Wagner, Atlantic Security's system engineer,
We are often asked how we continue to maintain a high quality internet video feed. James Bowman, Atlantic Security's general technician replied,
Throughout the years, the Osprey nest, the camera that watches it and all of the technology that surrounds the project has evolved, and will continue to do so. What started as simple curiosity has grown into a marvel of engineering that anyone in the entire world can watch and enjoy. Even after fifteen years, it is still a joy for John and his family, and their dog to be able to witness the life of the ospreys and follow the young from egg to flight. They are pleased to be able to now share this with so many people.
"Maintenance on the Osprey Cam can be exciting and challenging. We just recently had to undergo a complete rebuild of the existing nest as the original wooden spokes holding the nest had fully deteriorated and could no longer support weight and the camera bracket had been damaged. The problem we had was the Ospreys were beginning to show signs of leaving the nest. It was imperative that we rebuild. We initiated an emergency service call to rebuild the nest with salt treated lumber and metal brackets which would support the nest for many years to come."