Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Screech Owl Cam is Live Again (at Last!)

The paint is still wet on the new OwlCam software, but an hour ago it finally gave every indication of working, so I put it into production and, voilĂ !, images from the nest box are showing-up on the web site every 60 seconds once again.

The new software or hardware could malfunction at any time, but I’ve been studying the software’s internal behavior and everything looks solid so far. Fingers crossed.

Enjoy the owls.


  1. Thanks so much, Chris. I enjoy watching the owls.
    SW PA

  2. hat creek, ca10:16 AM CDT

    Hooray! One click on the link and it feels like I've come home. Your efforts are appreciated more than you know!

  3. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! From the Eastern Screech Owl Adoration and Appreciation Folks of Southern California ;-)

    (P.S. We don't need no chat room or forum or group thingie. We just like to watch the owls!)

  4. Alison in Indiana5:56 PM CDT

    Congratulations on your success. May it continue.

  5. Thanks Chris for all your hard work. I appreciate it.

    Gary from NC

  6. Anonymous10:59 PM CDT

    you da man!



  7. looks great and the view refreshes often!
    thanks for all the owls, Chris!

  8. Anonymous10:10 AM CDT

    So glad to see it up and running. Chris' Eastern Screech Owl NestCam is the original. Thank you.

    Leslie in KC

  9. Anonymous3:07 PM CDT

    Fantastic! Thank you so much for your dedication!
    -JM, Pennsylvania

  10. dumpsterkitty5:33 PM CDT

    I am SOOOO happy to have the screech family back online! Thank you Chris...

  11. Susan G.1:50 PM CDT

    It is wonderful to see her look back at her eggs to make sure they are still there. Live shots are clear and make us so happy that your software and hardware are working together.

  12. Just checked the cam and someone has hatched already! :)

  13. dumpsterkitty5:02 PM CDT

    And then there were 3...congratulations!

  14. I'm entranced by the attic cam; lovely; the iphone app is cranking away too.

  15. They are so active they are going to keep Mdme busy. Adorable!!!!!!

  16. Can you tell me what the name of your iphone app is? I just found you a couple of weeks ago, excited to see your owlets have hatched. I'm a newbie...first season of screech owls in my nest box so I have a lot to learn. I've heard owlets for a couple of weeks now, not sure when or how many have camera :( maybe next season. Thanks!

  17. David,

    Chris Cooley's iPhone app is "Nest Box Cam". The old version isn't on the App Store (no point when nesting isn't happening - it just confuses people), and the higher frame rate this year confuses the old version, which is why that hasn't returned to the App Store. Good news: The new app went into beta testing yesterday. It's in good shape; just needs tweaks to a few pieces of logic, I'd say. (Its author is the definitive information source, so I'm just speculating based on my observations.) Anyway, I know Mr. Cooley is anxious to get the new App out there (and fans of the App will like his improvements), so I hope to able to announce that its been submitted for approval to the App Store in the very near future.

  18. dumpsterkitty6:06 PM CDT

    I believe there are 4 now!

  19. I believe Mdme hatched the last egg early this am as I was up when the cam got stuck with the image of what looked like egg shell stuck in her beak. Good job Mdme!!!!

  20. Gwerts,

    I'm guessing the 4th egg hatched this afternoon, but a review of the archived images will be necessary to settle the question.

    Sorry about the cessation of fresh imagery this morning (from about midnight to 5:30 AM). That was a very rude surprise to wake-up to, and clearly interfered with your live viewing and egg monitoring - just the sort of thing that makes such surprises so rude.

    The problem, FWIW, is that the video server I'm using spontaneously reboots at wildly random intervals. My new Owl Cam software does not expect such events, and it especially does not expect lower layers of software that I do not control to hide the fact that the connection to the server is lost when it reboots. I'm still working on clean/sane solutions to that problem.

    This is all probably more than you want to know, but I employ a second process to keep an eye on the Owl Cam process, and to restart it if it exits for any reason. Unfortunately the lost connection to the rebooting video server was not causing the Owl Cam process to die, so the "minder" process didn't know anything was wrong (neither did the Owl Cam process for that matter, since the error was hidden from it).

    I've now made the minder smart enough to notice when no frames have been captured for a while, and to kill and restart the Owl Cam process afterward. Anyone who encountered some intermittent image update lapses early this morning was a victim of me testing and debugging that feature of the revised "minder" program.

    The revised monitor is the best of the bad "solutions" to this problem that I could think of, and was relatively quick to implement. It should limit gaps in live images to little more than 2 minutes, which I hope will prove to be relatively tolerable for any viewers unlucky enough to be watching at the time.

    Thanks for watching. Sorry about those gaps.


  21. dumpsterkitty6:47 PM CDT

    I captured a screenshot at 3:17 Central time that appeared to show an intact egg. Another capture at 4:43 showed half an egg.

  22. No problem Chris I figured it just got stuck. It looks like Mdme has gotten off to a real good start this year. I really loved the last picture of last years brood. I saved it on my laptop and plan on trying to sketch it sometime in the future. If it turns out I will send you a pic. Thanks for your hard work with the cam and the owls.

    SW Ohio