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Eaglet finally fledges

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Apr 21, 2021



The two most famous eaglets in Southwest Florida took their first flights from the nest this past week, their biggest milestone yet before they go out on their own.

E17 fledged on April 14, just less than 12 weeks after hatching, following a period of branching that included getting braver and braver as it went to various areas of the branch tree on the Pritchett property off Bayshore Road in North Fort Myers.

E17 appeared to want to land at the end of a branch, but ended up getting a behind full of pine needles instead before flying off.

It was resting in a nearby tree before returning to the nest sometime later.

The next day, E17 made its first full flight. It took off from the “attic” and circled around the pasture a few times before making a perfect landing in the nest.

The moment was captured on the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam, which has followed the growth of all the eaglets that have come from that nest for the past decade.

E18 was a little later getting off the ground. It continues to make progress, however. On Friday, it went to the “porch” for the first time, wingercizing there before returning to the nest.

As of Monday morning, E18 had yet to fledge.

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.

Those in charge of the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam were not immediately available for comment Monday.