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SWFL’s most famous eaglets ready to fly

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Mar 31, 2021

The North Fort Myers eaglets dubbed E 17 & 18 are getting ready to fledge. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SOUTHWEST FLORIDA EAGLE CAM

news@breezenewspapers.com

It’s been a scary at times, but Lee County’s most famous eaglets are growing up and are now nearly the same size as their parents.

And in the next week or so, they are expected to branch and make their first flights from the nest on the Pritchett property off Bayshore Road in North Fort Myers.

Harriet and M15 continue to feed their young, E17 and E18, who are now going through their instinctive routine of flapping their wings vigorously in the nest, sometimes even floating a foot or so above the nest before coming back down in the nest.

All the action has been seen on the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam. Andrew Pritchett, founder of the Eagle Cam, said there is increased excitement as the day of fledging nears.

“We’re getting close. By looking at the size of the eaglets, we’re certainly getting there,” Pritchett said. “With their wingercizing, they’re learning and growing and we expect them to branch real soon and then fledge.”

The next move for the eaglets will be to branch away from the nest, where they will continue to strengthen their wings and get in shape for flight.

Eaglets usually fledge at 10 to 14 weeks, though some have fledged sooner, including a couple from Pritchett Farm, either from accidentally falling from the nest or being attacked by an owl.

Pritchett said that with both eaglets having been born at near the same time, we could see a near simultaneous fledge for the first time.

“We hope for a successful fledge. In the past we had instances where they accidentally fledged but hopefully everything goes as planned and they both successfully fledge and it will be interesting if they do at the same time.”

After fledging, the eaglets will remain at the nest for about another month, taking short flights and learning to hunt while the adults continue to provide them food until they decide to go out on their own

Both eaglets of the latest brood hatched on Jan. 23, only two hours apart after each had a very quick hatching from “pip” to its emergence from the egg shell. However, after just six days of bonding and fighting fiercely over food, the two eaglets were removed from their nest after it was discovered they may have contracted an illness.

They spent a week at The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife facility in Sanibel before being renested.

Since then, the eaglets’ growing up phase has been uneventful although last week they were confronted by a sub-adult eagle who landed on a branch nearby the nest. The eaglets squealed to alert their parents to the intruders, though they were not threatened.

To view all the actions of the eagle family live visit dickpritchettrealestate.com