Hurricane Ian wipes out nest of famed bald eagles, birds rebuilding

FORT MYERS (AP) – The most devastating storm in Fort Myers historical past wiped out the primary nesting location for Harriet and M15, the well-known North Fort Myers eagle couple whose lives are streamed throughout the globe throughout nesting season.

“Their nest was completely demolished during Ian – not a stick left and many of their foundational branches broke off,” mentioned Virginia Pritchett McSpadden, whose household owns the land the place the eagle nest is positioned. “After the storm passed, I remember having this gutted feeling that they were harmed, the trees had fallen and they wouldn’t return to the area but to my surprise. …both eagles were spotted safe and already attempting to bring in new sticks. It brought tears to my eyes and I know to many others as well.”

Losing the nest throughout September is definitely good timing for the birds as a result of there’s nonetheless time to rebuild and lay eggs this season.

Rebuilding nests in October for bald eagles in South Florida

October is usually when bald eagles build and restore nests in South Florida.

It’s additionally the time of year when the Pritchett household activates the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam. There are literally a number of cameras that present completely different angles of the nest and branches on which the birds relaxation.

The footage is streamed on-line to hundreds of thousands of viewers every year.

But the digital camera system was broken by Hurricane Ian as nicely, so it might be a while earlier than their every day lives are streamed once more.

“Basically October is normally the time they come back from where they’ve been up north,” mentioned retired biologist and planner Jim Beever. “Many of our eagles that come to this part of the world spent their summer in Chesapeake Bay and along the Atlantic Coast.”

Beever, who as soon as tracked eagles in Southwest Florida for the state, mentioned there must be sufficient time for Harriet and M15 to nest this year.

“An eagle pair can successfully build a nest, produce a nest and have young in one season,” Beever mentioned. “Sometimes it makes them a little later to fledge and sometimes it doesn’t.”

One bonus, Beever pointed out, is there are a lot of constructing supplies scattered on the bottom.

Bald eagles break and form sticks to suit into place.

Thankfully the primary tree did not fall throughout the storm, or the well-known eagles could have left the territory altogether.

“Just losing a nest is not going to change the eagle’s territory, but a losing a tree will,” Beever mentioned.

The nesting cycles consists of eggs being laid by the top of the year. Hatchlings will quickly emerge, and fledglings will depart the nest between April and June.

Bald eagles usually lay two eggs.

“Their survival instincts are so strong,” McSpadden mentioned. “While I am shocked, I am not surprised by their efforts and strength. We have seen them face challenges and prevail even stronger than before.

The cameras will be offline for now, but the family is hoping to restore at least one of the cameras soon.

“Unfortunately we’re having a tricky time rebooting the stay cameras after the storm, however we’re persevering with to strive just a few various things in hopes of restoring no less than one digital camera,” she said. “We will proceed to replace everybody on our social media pages and web site”

McSpadden said the birds are a symbol of strength in a time of need.

“To have this symbolic raptor in our yard after we want hope, braveness and power greater than ever, it is unbelievable,” McSpadden mentioned.

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