Yampa Valley Community Foundation Supports Sandhill Crane Nest Camera Project

Bird-nest cameras have become popular as a window into nature. They connect viewers to birds’ intimate world, stimulating awareness that can lead to conservation, education, and engagement with birds. Sandhill Cranes are one of our most loved local birds who visit the Yampa Valley in the spring. To capture the nesting cycle of this beloved bird, Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition, Inc. (CCCC) will set up an internet-connected video camera at a known the Sandhill Crane Nest Camera Project and both live stream and record behaviors of the birds.

Anyone with access to the internet will be able to watch the cranes changing places with their mate, rotating eggs, and hopefully, hatching out their chicks. Also, CCCC staff will record, edit, and post video clips of nest activity highlights. This nest cam project will include an interactive format through CCCC’s website and Facebook page to allow the public to ask questions and receive information about what they see at the nest. The camera will be ready to stream live this spring.

To CCCC’s knowledge, no other Sandhill Crane nest camera is currently active in the United States. CCCC has estimated during nest building, incubation, and hatching, the nest may have up to 7,000 views online.

Nancy Merrill, President of the board of Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition, Inc. explained, “We believe our Sandhill Crane nest cam project will provide a window into the world of these amazing birds and foster an appreciation not only for Sandhill Cranes, but for all the many species of birds that face threats in today’s world.”

The project is estimated to cost close to $5,000. Three-thousand dollars of the funding comes from the Yampa Valley Community Foundation’s annual grant cycle, $1,000 comes from our local Wildlife Habitat Improvement Fund (WHILD). The remaining balance required to complete the project will be donated. Of note, Zirkel Wireless will donate and install the necessary equipment and one year of internet service.

The Sandhill Crane Nest Camera Project is supported through funds held at the Community Foundation to increase local awareness of our bird populations’ value. Greater Sandhill Cranes are listed as a Tier 1 Species of Concern in Colorado. Cranes are a charismatic species that can help create awareness of the plight of birds and our environment’s health. By giving people an up-close and personal experience with a pair of cranes through the nest-cam, CCCC and the Community Foundation hope to inspire an interest in protecting cranes and their environment and thus a desire for protecting all birds and creatures that share the habitat with cranes.

The Yampa Valley Community Foundation Community Grant Cycle is awarded based on 12-person community member committee’s recommendations. The WHILD fund’s granting allocation is based on the recommendation of a granting committee including one appointee with expertise in habitat improvement, wildlife management, wildlife habitat management or wildlife biology from local land managers and two members from the general public.

The WHILD fund is held at the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, a primary source for philanthropic resources and education for donors and nonprofit organizations. For more information about the WHILD fund, contact Helen Beall at 970-879-8632. To contribute, go to yvcf.org/WHILD.

Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition conserves and protects the Rocky Mountain population of Greater Sandhill Cranes and their habitat using science and education to connect people with this iconic species. CCCC is the collaborative leader in fostering long-term sustainability of the Rocky Mountain Population of Greater Sandhill Cranes. To learn more, visit https://coloradocranes.org/