Bald eagle blackout: Liberty and Justice are off the grid in Southwest DC

The bald eagle nest camera on the grounds of the D.C. police training academy in Southwest D.C. hasn’t been working properly since last July. But work is underway to get it fixed.

The camera is sending images that can be seen when a laptop is plugged into a portal under the nest tree, but they’re not being livestreamed over the internet.

From the nest tree, camera transmission and power lines go underground and down a steep hill to the training academy, which is about 150 feet away.

“That’s where the internet connection is; that’s where the power connection is,” said Earth Conservation Corps raptor specialist Daryl Wallace. “It’s IT stuff, maybe the system inside. They did some updates, so you have to change IP addresses and do a lot of things like that.”

Wallace and a technician visited the site on Friday — plugging into the portal and consulting with a D.C. police officer responsible for technology at the academy. At that time, it was discovered there also seems to be a mechanical problem of some sort: The camera is pointed at the ground, and efforts to change position were unsuccessful.

Daryl Wallace, a raptor specialist with the Earth Conservation Corps, explains the outage at the D.C. police training academy eagle cam while technician Roger Flowers works at a laptop. (WTOP/Kristi King)

Birds believed to be the nesting pair Liberty and Justice have been seen in recent weeks.

“They’ve been hanging around the nest. They’ve been flying in; they’ve been actually ‘coupled’ up on the nest,” Wallace said. “I’ve seen them bring fish to the nest.”

If the coupling proves successful, eggs will be laid within the next three to five weeks.

The birds have an international following, estimated to be 5,000 strong, who are eager for camera operations to resume, according to Earth Conservation Corps Interim Executive Director YaVonne Boyd.

“We want to connect these eagles back to the D.C. community as well as globally,” Boyd said. “We apologize for the delays, but we are very grateful for the immense support these eagles are getting from their followers.”

Liberty and Justice seem to have had no interlopers so far on their relationship this nesting season.

“Last year, we had a crazy love triangle when another male came around and (the female and he) went off on a romantic rendezvous. But, our male supposedly came back. We just want to get cameras on them and look at the birds, and try to identify what’s what and who’s who right now,” Wallace said.

You can check to see whether the training academy nest cam is working.

As for the nest of Mr. President and the First Lady at the National Arboretum, you can see and hear what’s going on there.

WTOP’s Jack Moore contributed to this report.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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