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Lee County’s most famous eagle pair welcome two eaglets in time for the holidays

January 2, 2019
By CHUCK BALLARO (news@breezenewspapers.com) , Lehigh Acres Citizen

It was a very Merry Christmas for Harriet and mate M15. They once again became parents.

Southwest Florida's most famous eagle pair welcomed E12 and E13 into the world.

E12 hatched from its egg at 11:26 a.m. on Dec. 23, while E13 was hatched approximately 10:35 p.m. on Christmas Eve, though it could not be determined the exact time the eaglet hatched. Southwest Florida Eagle Cam had to go through the footage to approximate the time of arrival.

Article Photos

Two newly hatched eaglets in the nest at Pritchette Real Estate off Bayshore Road in North Fort Myers.

Photo courtesy of Pritchette Real Estate and the Southwest Florida Eagle cam.

"It's an exciting time that they hatched when they usually do. The next three to five weeks we see them grow so much in such little time," said Ginnie Pritchett-McSpadden, founder of the eagle cam. "They'll look like adult eagles in no time."

Thousands of viewers had the chance to see for themselves on the Pritchett Eagle Cam perched just above the nest, especially the first hatchling which people saw as it pecked its way out of its egg.

Within hours, the eaglet's father arrived at the nest with fresh food and the pair fed the newborn its first bite as several thousand people looked on.

Once the second eaglet hatched, sibling rivalry took over. M15 was in the nest Christmas afternoon feeding the two babies, with E12 getting the lion's share, as is usually the case with the older eaglet.

"We couldn't determine the time of birth on E13 because it was at night and the camera couldn't focus as well. It was hard to get a good look when the eaglet came out of its shell," Pritchett-McSpadden said. "We see a large spike in viewers during hatching time. The holidays are a good time because it provides a talking point for families."

It has been a fairly routine nesting season so far. E12 was laid on Nov. 16 and E13 was on Nov. 19, both in the late afternoon. After hatching, it will probably be sometime in late March when the eaglets fledge.

Most of the eaglets hatched in the nest off Bayshore Road in North Fort Myers have been able to fledge, though as nature is unpredictable, that does not guarantee survival, no matter how caring the parents are.

In November 2016, one of the eggs got buried in the nest and was not viable. The season before that, in February 2016, eaglet E8 had to be cut free from the nest after getting monofilament fishing line wrapped around its leg and foot cutting off circulation and causing swelling. E8 was taken to the CROW clinic for treatment and released back to the nest three days later.

Two eaglets, E5 and E3, died in the nest in January 2015 and February 2014, respectively. Those eaglets were fathered by Ozzie, Harriet's previous mate, who died in 2015.

The Southwest Florida Eagle cam may be viewed at dickpritchettrealestate.com/

 
 

 

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