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E18 finally fledges the nest

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Apr 28, 2021

Southwest Florida Eagle Cam watchers have noticed a special bond between E17 and E18. PHOTO BY DESIREE DELIZ

news@breezenewspapers.com

One week after its sibling made its first flight, E18 finally made its maiden flight Thursday morning, which was covered by the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam.

E18 took a giant leap of faith in the rain and flew from the outer branch to the old cam tree at 8:52 a.m. It took a couple of abortive attempts, perhaps to get its nerves up before making that first flight.

E18 flapped and balanced on the old cam tree while E17 watched from a nearby snag. After a few minutes, E18 took flight and landed on the front drive snag, with E17 soon joining it.

Both eagles soon returned to the nest, triumphant. After E18 made a second trip to the old tree, M15 brought back a squirrel feast for the family.

Since then, the eaglets have taken their first bath in the pond (which ended with both eaglets brawling on the ground — a continuation of natural sibling rivalry) and taken flight over the pasture.

The eaglets will hang around the nest on the Pritchett property off Bayshore Road in North Fort Myers for a few more weeks before taking off on their own.

That will bring an end to another great (though imperfect) nesting season for Harriet and her mate, M15.

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.

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.

The actions of the mated pair, and their annual broods, are featured live each year on the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam where millions worldwide have watched through the seasons.