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Anne Marie Patti Higgins ’76, G’90 Expands Opportunities for Student Research by Upgrading Hawk Nest Cam
An upgraded camera was installed on the roof of the Life Science Complex roof on Jan. 24 thanks to the generosity of Anne Marie Patti Higgins ’76, G’90, who established Syracuse University’s red-tailed hawk nest cam in 2017.
The new camera provides live video and audio with an additional view of the nest activities of SU-Sue and Otto, a pair of red-tailed hawks that have been building nests in the archways of Lyman Hall since 2012. Along with the two existing nest cameras on Lyman Hall, the enhanced perspective from the Life Sciences roof will give observers an improved ability to study the behavior of the hawks as they build their nest and raise their chicks.
“This new camera will provide a sweeping visual field of the hawks as they begin their nest activities, usually starting in February,” Higgins explains.
Higgins donated the cameras in memory of her husband, Thomas L’67, an avid birdwatcher. “I am so happy to help provide the campus community and the world more opportunities to enjoy and learn about this amazing, majestic couple,” she says.
The new pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera provides a broad view of both Lyman archways ensuring long-range sightings of the adult red-tails’ activities, including their flights to and from the nests.
Higgins says the nest cams can be a resource for students to learn and conduct field research augmenting their studies, and potentially their careers. “This semester, I have a graduate student volunteering in the evening doing nest camera operation and observations,” she says. “I’m overjoyed to provide opportunities for students to apply what they learn outside of the classroom.”
Streaming video and audio allows camera operation volunteers to study and archive the hawks’ activity 24/7 in their natural nesting habitat. Red-tails often build their nests in the tops of trees or on window ledges. Once the streaming begins, viewers can watch Otto and SU-Sue refurbish one of their four existing nests by carrying a steady supply of dry sticks and tree twigs in preparation for this year’s brood. “We will able to see SU-Sue lay her eggs via the nest camera most likely sometime in March,” Higgins says.
In addition to funding the live streaming video and audio, Higgins chronicles the hawks’ activities on her Facebook page: Red-Tailed Hawk Tales.