Murrysville firm’s wildlife webcams expand to ‘Owlberta,’ fox den, osprey | TribLIVE.com
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Mary Ann Thomas
Fox kits playing at a den in Murrysville captured on live webcam.

A fox den with six kits wrestling in Murrysville and an osprey sitting on a nest at Moraine State Park are among four new wildlife webcams online posted by CSE Corp., formerly known as PixController of Murrysville.

Then there’s “Owlberta” the female Eastern screech owl and her mate Oliver tending to their eggs in a nestbox in Murrysville that is also monitored by a live webcam.

It’s a virtual cam-o-rama with new live webcams including one in Africa, installed for educational purposes and to help thwart illegal poaching.

They are additions to two popular live bald eagle webcams at nests in Pittsburgh Hays and Harmar.

The success of the bald eagle cams has been a catalyst for the other sites and animals.

Viewers to CSE’s webcams can peer into the mysteries of their own backyards.

“The big thing is to show people things they haven’t seen before,” said Bill Powers, director of environmental and surveillance systems at CSE Corp.

The opportunity is there as CSE built its own server this year to stream multiple webcams.

The newest offering of webcams has attracted a national wildlife outlet to inquire about licensing some of the webcam feeds, Power added.

The cams have multi-generational appeal.

Besides her four kids, Allyshia Kohosek, 32, of Murrysville has turned her mother and 97-year-old grandfather onto the fox and eagle cams.

“My grandfather gets such a kick out of it — he loves watching the foxes,” she said.

Kohosek’s children, ages 18 months to 10 years, have fun watching the foxes, but it’s more than that.

The fox cam is set up near their home and she has taken the children for walks to see them.

As it often happens with canine species, with their keen senses, they didn’t see the fox on their walk as the animals likely spied them first and hid.

“The kids had no idea that a fox lived so close to where we are,” she said.

One of the reasons the webcams are so popular is that this “kind of content didn’t really exist in this unfiltered state prior to the last 10-15 years or so,” said Charles Eldermire, Bird Cams project leader for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, in Ithaca, N.Y.

“There’s a hint of the unknown, because no one is curating or directing the experience,” he said.

Cornell operates 10 to 15 wildlife cams that attract millions of visits and hundreds of millions of minutes of views.

The quality of cameras and technologies continue to progress providing a “beautiful, compelling experience” and a “visual respite from the rest of the content being offered to people” such as advertisements and politics, he added.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter @MaThomas_Trib.

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