NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Southwest Florida Eagle Cam has racked up millions of views over the years. The Pritchett family launched cameras this week for nesting season.
People have watched families form, even felt the heartbreak and seen resilience in the eagles.
"This is an easy place to and and see eagles," an avid watcher said. "This is our first time here since last year."
The eagle's nest is on the Pritchett property off of Bayshore Road in North Fort Myers.
One couple says they have been coming to the nesting area since 2016 and watching the online cameras since then.
"It's addicting," they said. "The whole cycle of their life is just pretty amazing."
The cameras got a big upgrade this year.
"This season’s streaming features a brand new set up with two ultra high definition 4k cameras placed strategically in the nest tree," said Virginia Pritchett McSpadden. "Cam 2, the “Nest Cam” will feature eye-level up close footage of nest activity."
Ranger Rob Howell, a naturalist, says this year is going to be different.
Harriet, the female eagle, disappeared without a trace in February 2023.
"Most of the big issues for our raptors here is being poisoned by vermin poisoned," Howell said.
He says while it's all speculation, her absence hit many of the fans hard.
"It was heartbreaking kind of," the couple said. "You're used to seeing her all the time and now she's gone."
Though gone, M-15, the male eagle, took care of the babies. Now, he's back for another nesting season.
"Usually males come back a little early and start getting the nest prepared," Howell said. "There's a female looking around to be his new mate."
Pritchett tells me they do not have a name for her yet.
"I just hope that we have little babies this year," the couple said.
"Being able to have that connection with an animal, there’s nothing like it," he said. "People have just fallen in love with these animals."
You can watch the eagle camera live here.