See Footage from BBC Newsline, 27th May 2021 – here.

View livestream on Mannok website – here.

In February of this year the Mannok Environmental officer contacted their Netwatch Account Manager, John Kennedy with an more unusual request. They wanted to discuss an interesting nature project they sought support on. The concept was to provide a visual system to allow closer monitoring of a pair of Kestrels as they nested in one of the Mannok site locations. The project would be overseen by Queen’s PhD student, Kez Armstrong.

Installing Kestrel Cam

Netwatch undertook to survey the nesting location to assess suitable options for coverage that would not impact on the nesting site and not deter the Kestrels themselves. Netwatch engineers installed 2 IP network cameras, both with audio capability close to the nest, but not encroaching on the nest or access to same. The cameras were connected via 4g comms on site to provide live streams back to the Mannok stream hosting servers. All works were completed well in advance of any nesting activity and ensuring the Kestrels could settle in comfortably with their eggs.

Two discrete cameras have been installed by Netwatch in the nesting location under license from NPWS to enable Queen’s University to study the birds and to raise awareness of the need to protect the species and other wildlife across Ireland. Kez Armstrong, will study the nesting pair of Kestrels, who have returned to the same nesting site over the last few years to successfully breed.

The live stream was launched on World Earth Day to highlight the need to protect our local wildlife and wider eco systems, particularly with the Common Kestrel having recently been placed on the Red List as a species now at risk of extinction in Ireland.

Live feed from the nest will be broadcast on the Mannok website for the duration of the project, together with a Kestrel Blog from Kez to keep people informed of progress and allow people to follow the story of the nesting pair of birds.

Oisin Lynch of Mannok’s Environmental Team, who has been working on the initiative for several months, explained what this has involved,

“As these are the first Kestrel nest cameras to be installed in Ireland it will give us important insights into the behaviours of the birds which we haven’t had access to previously. Our number one priority is the welfare of the birds, so there has been a great deal of collaboration with a number of wildlife groups and relevant licensing bodies and we’ve worked very closely with Kez Armstrong of Queen’s University, John Kennedy and the Netwatch team to install the cameras in a way which would not disturb the birds or put them off nesting in this location. We’ve observed them from a distance for the past few years, so we’re very much looking forward to getting a closer view to help understand the birds better.”

The live stream can be viewed here.