In fact, the people of Turners Falls and the four other villages that make up the town of Montague (pop. 8,316) have made the eagles, stars of their own dawn-to-dusk show on local cable Channel 6, the most-watched daytime-TV performers around. A camouflaged solar-powered surveillance camera—installed last year by the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, in partnership with Northeast Utilities, which owns the island—monitors the two as they fuss and feud and wait for their two eggs to hatch in the treetop nest they call home. The idea, says Carolyn Boardman, 50, outdoor recreation planner for the refuge, came from a refuge in Upstate New York that increased visitor traffic fivefold after it began filming an eagle's nest—not that she wants folks to get close to Milton and Mollie, just become interested in them.
That they have. "I've never watched so much TV in my life," says refuge volunteer Patricia Carlisle, 65, who had cable installed so she could watch all-eagles, all-the-time. And Gennie Warren, 23, is delighted by the eagles' effect on the viewing habits of Kelso, her 3-year-old daughter. "I tried putting on Barney the other morning," says Warren, "and she said, 'Mommy, turn it back.' Now she'd rather watch the eagles."
And this is just the beginning. The hatching of the eggs, says Bill Davis, a biologist who monitors and protects bald eagles for the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife eagle project, should boost eaglemania to new heights. "We'll get phone calls every time one of the eaglets sneezes," he says.
On Newsstands Now
- Kim's Delivery Room Drama!
- Katie: A Year After Split
- Princess Kate: Palace's Baby Plan Revealed
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine