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CAPE CORAL l Nesting Season Begins for SWFL Eagles, But Still Face Battles Ahead

Bald eagle shows air superiority, sends drone into lake
Posted at 5:43 PM, Oct 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-03 18:30:52-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Bald Eagle nests are scattered across Southwest Florida. But as we continue to grow…

“Eagles, and all wildlife are getting squished into smaller and smaller areas of habitat,” said Shawnlie Breeding, with Audubon Florida’s EagleWatch program.

But neighborhoods like Stonewater in Cape Coral are still trying to give them their space and even have signage for quiet zones to keep these nesting sites as undisturbed as possible.

“Even though Eagles are not on that list of threaten and endangered species anymore, they are still protected by state and federal laws, that make it illegal to cut down their nest tree at any time and it is actually illegal to disturb them while they are nesting,” said Breeding.

Breeding says despite the eagle population being in a healthy place, they still have a number of threats in the state.

“We do have a number of threats in Florida,” said Breeding. “We have one of the highest rates of development. People moving here every year. And destruction of natural habitat to build homes, roads, and all that.”

And here in Southwest Florida, the eagles are also building back like the rest of us from Hurricane Ian last year. In fact, 148 nests were lost in the storm with about 70% rebuilt in the same season.

“We will be really curious to see how this season goes,” said Breeding. “You know, they are still probably limited by their nest sight choice, but we have already seen some the eagles back and working down there.”

And soon those nests will be full of eaglets.

“You always have the early birds that come back,” said Breeding. “They lay their eggs in November, chicks hatch in December, and they are gone by February. Then we have other pair that are just late nesters and maybe they don’t start until February and then they are done May.”

Once the eggs are laid, it takes about 45 days until they are hatched. As they grow, the adults will supply food several times a day, until they fledge the nest.