homepage logo

Eagle watch: Harriet is missing

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Feb 4, 2023

A view from the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam seen Saturday evening. Photo from the SOUTHWEST FLORIDA EAGLE CAM

Fans of Southwest Florida’s most famous eagle pair are hoping for the best after Harriet went missing early Friday morning.

Harriet flew from the nest off Bayshore Road in North Fort Myers late Thursday and had not returned as of Saturday morning. M15, her mate, has taken full responsibility for the care of their latest brood of dubbed E21 and E22. The eaglets are now about a month old and at least two months away from fledging.

This means M15 must also be a protector of the nest by himself. On Friday, he had to chase off an intruder (believed to be another bald eagle) three times, with the video shown on the Southwest Florida Eagle cam website, which offers a live view of the nest and nearby grounds 24/7.

With M15 having to hunt for food, this mean the eaglets will be alone in the nest much more frequently. He was gone for several hours Saturday morning before arriving home with a fish.

On the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam website, fans of the eagles worldwide expressed their concern while keeping the faith that Harriet is somewhere safe and will return to the nest soon.

“…sad and worrisome turn of events happening in the last few days at the nest. I just don’t feel good about this. Harriet would be at least in her territory if not on her tree, if it was possible,” said Melissa Smith-Aguilera in the chat room.

In 2015, Harriet’s first mate, Ozzie, died after a long stay at CROW following an injury sustained after he was hit by a car.

By that point, Harriet had moved on with M15. After a fight between the two male eagles, Ozzie left the nest and later died.

Harriet has been coming to the Pritchett Farm to nest since 2006. As she was full grown by that point, she is at least 22 years old, but is believed to be a little (or even a lot) older.

The Southwest Florida Eagle Cam began to show the daily lives of the eagles and eaglets in 2011 and is now in its 11th season

Following Hurricane Ian, Harriet and M15 their nest on the same tree it’s always been and went through their mating, egg laying and hatching in fairly routine fashion.

However, around 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Harriet flew from the nest and, as of Saturday night, had no returned, leading to speculation as to what may have happened.

Representatives of the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam did not respond for comment.

To view the cam, visit dickpritchettrealestate.com.