The Southwest Florida Eagle Cam is a website featuring live streaming webcams trained on a bald eagle nest, which sits 60 feet above the ground, in a Slash Pine tree in North Fort Myers, Florida. The live streaming website shows the parent eagles and their family as they build and restore the nest, mate, lay eggs, and challenge the natural elements and predators in the area. The site launched with one camera in September 2012.
The live webcam was set up by the landowner's company, Dick Pritchett Real Estate, to observe the eagles in their natural habitat in hopes of providing an educational and learning experience.
This nest is labeled LE026-B of the Florida State Monitoring Program. It has been monitored for 6 years. The first year was when the nest was across the street in 2007. The pair relocated the nest in 2006-2007 to its present location.
A typical nest is around 5 feet in diameter. Eagles often use the same nest year after year. Over the years, some nests become enormous, as much as 9 feet in diameter, weighing two tons. The Southwest Florida Eagle Cam nest is approximately 8 feet in diameter and a short one mile flight away from the Caloosahatchee River, which serves as their primary food source. The pair of eagles rely mostly on fish from the river (Mullet, Catfish, Red Fish, Snook, Gar), but may also eat small rodents if the opportunity presents itself.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Service, who tracks Bald Eagle nests, M15 and Harriet have 133 neighbors in a 25-mile radius. Their closest neighbor is 1 mile away.
To preserve the natural habitat of the eagles, the camera is positioned six feet above the nest and is attached to a tree limb, using no screws or nails. The noiseless camera also uses night vision. This feature allows the camera to see at night without disturbing the eagles.
For season 2, Dick Pritchett Real Estate installed two cameras, hoping to enhance the viewing experience. In addition to the nest camera (camera #1), camera #2 is located approximately 100 feet from the next and has the ability to capture images of the nest action outside of Camera #1. Both cameras are environmentally friendly, non-intrusive and positioned to offer the best view of the nest and birds while preserving the pristine beauty of the nest and their surroundings.
Harriet and Ozzie received their names by the landowners and area birdwatchers who fell in love with the duo from a distance. Their names are based on an American sitcom, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. They have been coming to this nest for the past 6 years and typically reside in this nest between the months of October and April. On March 17, 2015, Ozzie was found by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officials and taken to the Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Inc. (CROW) for evaluation after showing signs of disorientation and injury. After 97 days of care to recover from a broken left clavicle and a broken left coracoid bone, Ozzie was released back into the wild near the nest. On Saturday, September 19th, Ozzie made an appearance at the nest. On September 27th, after seen fighting with a male eagle in the area, Ozzie was found injured and again admitted back into CROW’s care. On Tuesday, September 29th, Ozzie died.
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that there are at least 9,789 nesting pairs of bald eagles in the contiguous United States. While the largest concentration of bald eagles is in Alaska, bald eagles can be found in every state except Hawaii with Florida, Wisconsin, Washington, Minnesota, Oregon, and Michigan all having a prevalent bald eagle population. The 2012-2013 (October 2012-May 2013) marked the first year the nest was streamed live to the world. Over 18 million viewers tuned into to watch the adult eagles, Harriet and Ozzie, raise their 2 eaglets (Hope and Honor) from birth to fledge.
• The 1st egg (E1/Hope) was laid on November 26 at 1:47 pm., hatched January 1, 2013 at 10:44 p.m. and fledged the nest on March 25 at 7:51 a.m. • The 2nd egg (E2/Honor) was laid on November 29 at 6:38 pm., hatched January 3, 2013 at 9:49.p.m. and fledged the nest on March 25 at 8:23 a.m.
While cameras were not set up to watch the activity prior to 2012, the below activity has been documented about the past nesting seasons:
06-07 2 eaglet fledged 07-08 fledglings not confirmed 08-09 2 eaglets 09-10 1 eaglet 10-11 1 fledgling confirmed 11-12 1 fledgling confirmed 12-13 2 fledglings confirmed via cameras 13-14 2 eaglets 14-15 The first egg (E5) was laid November 19 and hatched (37 days) Dec. 26. The 2nd egg (E6) was laid November 22 and hatched (35 days) Dec. 27 . E5 died Jan. 20 at 10:15 to unknown causes. 15-16 2 Eaglets E7 and E8 currently in the nest.
While it is a big difficult to tell the adult eagles apart, The Southwest Florida Eagle Cam moderators provide the below identifying features:
(Female) HarrietMuch larger
Inverted V in front neck ruffles
Dark circles around eyes
Thick/larger beak, larger gape
Black speckles high on tail
Dark heart shape on head, back right
Has a Longer middle talon than O
(Male) Now M15 for Male 2015 (about 5 or 6 years old)Smaller
Ridge over eye has more feather cover.
His eyes appear darker in color than the female.
There is a small dark spot on the right side of his face.
The launch of the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam was funded and continues to be majorly supported by the private funds and public donations.
The Pritchett Family started the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam Foundation in the Spring of 2013 so viewers and philanthropists could donate to a fund to help maintain the camera for future season of living streaming. The goal of these cameras is to foster appreciation, admiration and respect for these magnificent creatures through the ability to bring these beautiful birds into your homes. The intentions of the Pritchett Family are to learn from these birds so we may better understand them and their habits.