FORT MYERS, Fla. – Eagle lovers woke up to sad news Wednesday morning after a famous Florida bird of prey family lost a little one.
Morning video showed the eaglet lying on the bottom of the nest and the eaglet’s mother, Harriet, standing over her progeny. The eagle family can be observed online on the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam.
“It is with much sadness that SWFEC must share with our viewers that E14 passed away sometime during the night,” the webcam operator said. “Our SWFEC family mourns the loss of this special eaglet that brought such joy to us all in the short time they had on this earth.”
The two adult eagles, known as Harriet and M15, produced two eggs this year. The first did not hatch.
“As soon as we heard about what was going on with E14 we contacted the appropriate parties to make sure they are monitoring the situation,” said Andy Pritchett, who runs the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam with his sister.
Pritchett said he contacted the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife in Sanibel once he heard the eaglet was having trouble.
The clinic received approval for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the remains from the nest.
“A radiograph was taken of the body which did not reveal any foreign objects, such as a fishing hook, in the body of E14 and the staff member that retrieved the remains did not find any fishing hooks or line in the nest,” a clinic news release says.
The clinic will send the remains of E14 to the University of Georgia’s Southeast Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study for more evaluations.
When Pritchett found out about E14, he temporarily shut the cameras down. They are back online now though, and viewers are back to watching Harriet and her partner.
The cameras have been set up since 2012, but the eagle family has been on Pritchett’s property in North Fort Myers since 2007.
“It’s something we’ve really grown to enjoy, and I think it’s something the community has fallen in love with and we really enjoy doing it,” Pritchett said.
The eagle cam’s audience sent condolences on a Facebook page dedicated to the live feed.
“So sorry to read this,” one poster under the name Vivian Lucas wrote. “Glad we got to see the little one for a time even though it was brief. Thanks to everyone who works so hard to allow us to enjoy eagle life.”
Follow Michael Braun on Twitter: @MichaelBraunNP