After days of concern, I was thrilled to tune into the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam and get good news. The eye infections causing the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife to temporarily remove the eaglets from the nest cleared up enough for them to be returned after seven days. In even better news, it appears E17 is backing off attacks on sibling E18.
Yes, the attacks are normal in nature. Despite knowing this, and despite the work I’ve done on projects protecting eagles and other wildlife, the attacks still drove me nuts.
It’s normal for raptors to be aggressive with siblings. We humans who see these birds from afar don’t usually get a closeup look at eaglets or their parents. I recall a lead team member at a state agency working on behalf of endangered and threatened wildlife. He was pretty sarcastic about eagles’ majesty—he called them pure “opportunists.” He said they’d eat whatever was handy, dead or alive.
So why don’t vultures get the same awe from us humans as eagles?
I do know that as I watched E17 mercilessly peck at his sibling, I found myself uselessly talking to the mother eagle. I did that even though I’m keenly aware of raptors’ behavior. When I tuned in while the babies were gone, I was saddened. Would the parents accept the eaglets once they were re-nested?
Considering the length of time they were out of the nest, it’s a wonder the parents did accept them when the eaglets were returned.
I find myself tuning into this cam sporadically—kind of a drive-by viewing—to see how the eaglets and their parents are doing.
There’s also an afterthought. We hear talk about the nuclear family in the human race these days, and high profile ‘activists’ see the nuclear family as a negative for the collective.
Poppycock. Humans are animals too and there is no more efficient way to build a strong community than to have strong nuclear families. The makeup of those families doesn’t matter to me—the cohesiveness, commitment, and values system do. I guess “elementary family” would be my term.
As time goes by, we’ll get to watch the eaglets continue to grow and ultimately, fly away to make nests of their own. Many thanks to Dick Pritchett Real Estate in North Fort Myers, Florida, and to his family for establishing the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam Foundation. Thanks to them, we get to watch the miracles of nature unfold.
Nature, for any artist, is one of the most inspiring resources we can turn to.
Here are quick links for your viewing pleasure—remember, nature can be brutal, so if a raptor eating a dead rabbit bothers you, best not tune in:
Cam 360 angle:
Back in the nest, vocal and energetic.
For more natural history on eagles, take a look at the National Eagle Center site.
Featured photo is from the SW Florida Eagle Cam. I lightened the snip slightly for better viewing by those using mobile devices.
(Kay B. Day/February 9, 2021)