Welcome to thehawkchannel.com!

Turner Techwood campus cable channel 59

[ and also on CNN Center Comcast cable channel XX and CNN Center Router cable channel XX once we see a sign of the nest being active ]

2008 status:
12-Mar-2008: channel launched at Techwood on cable channel 59; waiting for nesting of hawks
15-Apr-2008: no nesting activity, we're giving up for the year; channel has been shut down

This is a simple website to tell you about the "Hawk Channel" at Turner. For years red-tailed hawks have been nesting in the rear of Turner Broadcasting's Techwood campus in midtown Atlanta, and most years they have produced a brood of hawk chicks in the spring. In 2005 we had the Hawk Channel running for the first time, and anyone on Techwood campus could watch the progress of the hawk chicks via a campus cable channel. They used to nest on Turner's 250-foot transmission tower. The tower was dismantled in early 2006 and the hawks were unable to nest that year. In 2007 the hawks re-established a nest in the crown of a nearby tree and so the Hawk Channel returned. Some links:

This year the system features a "real" camera, instead of the eyepiece camera plus telescope setup that was used in the past two years. Technical details are below. Thanks go to Dick Perin at the Turner Field Shop for arranging the camera!

Q. How can I see the Hawk Channel?
A. On Turner's Techwood Campus go to cable channel number 59
Q. What am I seeing?
A. Prior to hatching, all you're going to see is one of the two hawks sitting in the nest incubating eggs. From the camera's vantage point, you'll just barely see the head and tail of the hawk poking out of the nest. Occasionally the other hawk will show up with food for the nesting hawk, or to take over sitting duties. Once the chicks hatch, then just you wait until feeding time! It's pretty great^H^H^Hgruesome.
Q. Where exactly is the nest?
A. Right here.
Q. Can I see it at CNN Center?
A. Not yet. We had it running on the CNN Center cable systems last year (both cable systems), and we plan to this year too, but we're waiting until we actually see activity in the nest.
Q. Can I see this from outside Turner?
A. Nope, sorry, this website (and the above links to other websites) is all you get. Sorry.
Q. Can you zoom in closer?
A. Nope. The camera is zoomed all the way in. We have a 22X Canon lens on the camera. We could use a little more zoom, say a 40X lens; if you have one that will work with our camera, we'd love to borrow it for the spring -- we'd need it through mid-June. Our camera is a Philips LDK 5400 with a Bayonet B4 mount (Sony type) and a 12-pin control connector.
Q. Can you move it up/down right a bit?
A. We aim it by hand and try to keep it centered. If it's not looking at the nest, be patient because enough people in 1060 are watching this too that they'll probably walk over to the lab soon enough and re-aim it.
Q. I'm bored. When is something going to happen?
A. The eggs are usually laid in early March. Since the gestation period on these hawks is 28-35 days, by mid-April we typically have hatchlings. Once they've hatched, and have grown up enough to be seen over the edge of the nest (about a week), the real show begins, with various small animals meeting their untimely ends at the talons and beaks of the hawk family. It's also fun to watch the chicks totter around the nest and make us think they're about to fall out. By early June they will be old enough to fly ("fledge") and will leave the nest and then the show's over. But this schedule could be accelerated by the warm weather we've been having.
Q. How does the Hawk Channel work?
A. In the 1060 building, on the 3rd floor in the engineering office area, there is a professional video camera propped up on a table and aimed out the window at the nest. The video from that camera is fed into the TEN video router, and from there it can go pretty much anywhere at Turner, including into the cable system.
Q. Why does it look so bad?
A. You think it looks bad now? You should have seen it last year, or the year before, it was far worse! Anyway, several factors contribute to the imperfect image. The later in the afternoon you get, the worse it looks, because the nest is backlit. The nest that it's zoomed in on is pretty far away, so that can make it a little blurry. We have the camera set for auto-iris and have picked a color temperature setting that should work for the whole day, because we can't keep going back to the camera and adjusting it all day. However, this signal is already running through a video proc (a DPS-575) so if you're a camera/color pro and want to suggest some tweaks, or tweak it yourself, get in touch with me.
Q. The backlit afternoon viewing sucks. Can't you get a better angle?
A. The view from the top floors of 1060 (and the roof) is definitely better, as you can see into the nest a little bit. But we can't go any higher (than the 3rd floor) in 1060 because the video infrastructure (i.e. SDI tie lines) only goes up to the 3rd floor. We tried the view from the new 1015 Turner Studios building, but once the leaves came in on the trees then the nest view was blocked from that direction. Further there don't appear to be any live video paths out of that building anyway.
Q. Who did this?
A. Chris Campbell / 8-1808 / email on Orbit
Q. Who else helped?
A. Several people:

2008 timeline: 2007 timeline: Technical notes on the camera setup (new 2008 setup) Technical notes on the video routing setup: 1060 3rd floor lab phone is 5-6307

- Chris C., 13-Mar-2008