hey trek through swampy wilderness and across the parking lots of office parks and strip malls. Fighting off hordes of mosquitoes; dodging traffic; and avoiding the likes of snakes, wild boars, and the occasional errant shopping cart, these dedicated souls monitor the actions of one of this country's most cherished national symbols. They are the volunteers and lifeblood of the Audubon EagleWatch program―Florida residents who watch and record the movements of many of the state's bald eagles.
Started in 1992 with 22 monitors, EagleWatch now utilizes about 275 volunteers who dutifully watch upwards of 300 nests and their resident eagles―about 25% of Florida's total of 1,200. While that's not yet enough to relieve concerns about the eagle's long-term viability, it has allowed the birds to spread their wings throughout the state and in places that might surprise the casual observer.