Fans of Alcoa Davenport Works’ eagle webcam soon will enjoy a clearer video of the eagle nest, thanks to a camera upgrade being made this week.

Alcoa employees are installing a new digital zoom camera to replace the original web camera that the company installed a year ago on its Riverdale property. On Wednesday, a crew removed the original camera from atop a 100-foot tree, where it was focused on the nest.

Alcoa spokesman John Riches said the new high-definition camera will provide a clearer picture for the live video stream and will capture sound from the nest.

Last spring, Davenport Works began streaming live video from the nest, built and inhabited by adult eagles named Liberty and Justice, in anticipation of  the pair’s two eggs hatching in the nest near the Mississippi River. Alcoa employees and other viewers worldwide had been watching the nest via the web camera since it was installed last November.

Viewers watched as the two eggs hatched. Although one of the eaglets died in April, viewers watched the surviving bird, named Freedom in an online poll, grow stronger and eventually leave the nest. The live video has continued ever since.

Riches said viewers, who can comment on his blog at the site, have reported seeing Liberty and Justice  returning to the nest more often lately. They have built up the nest with more sticks and occasionally bring a catch there to feed.

“They don’t use the nest a lot right now,” he said, adding that there will be more activity next year when the eggs are laid. Typically, eagles lay their eggs in late February to early March and they hatch between late March and early April.

He added that Freedom, the eaglet hatched and raised in the nest, will not return there. “It takes them four or five years to mature and then they take a mate. But I’ve been told they usually make a nest within 70 miles of where they fledged.”

Since the web site was first unveiled to the public in January — in conjunction with Quad-City Bald Eagle Days — it has had 1.5 million hits. In the early days, the site featured recorded video from the nest but a live video stream began in mid-March.

“The bulk of the hits were in March, April and May when the eggs hatched and the eaglet was getting bigger,” Riches said.

He said the site will be offline for a couple of days while the new camera is installed.