One Week Later, Famous Florida Bald Eagle Harriet Still Missing From Nest

Her mate has been doing his best to raise their young eaglets alone.

Sad news out of Fort Myers, Florida, where the search continues for Harriet. The bald eagle of Southwest Florida Eagle Cam fame has not been seen for seven days, leaving her mate M15 to care for their two young eaglets alone and a community of fans to fear for the worst.

Harriet Bald Eagle

Marti Lord/Southwest Florida Eagle Cam

“It's been one week since the last sighting of Harriet,” Southwest Florida Eagle Cam wrote on Facebook today. “Our hearts break for the Eagle family but M continues to amaze us with his natural instincts and survival skills. Only time will tell what is in store for these three.”

Harriet has been nesting on the Pritchett family’s property since 2006. The family set up a series of live cameras in 2012 so that millions of bird lovers could watch her and her then-mate Ozzie 24/7. Harriet took up with her current mate M15 shortly after Ozzie’s death in 2015. This year marks Harriet and M15’s eighth together. The pair welcomed two eaglets, E21 and E22, in January.

The mama eagle was last seen chasing intruders away, flying northwest from their nest on the afternoon of Thursday, February 2. Officials have reportedly searched that area for any signs of Harriet but haven't found anything.

Southwest Florida Eagle Cam co-founder Ginnie Pritchett McSpadden told Fort Myers News-Press that she is trying to remain positive while preparing for the worst. She added that other eagles have already noticed how vulnerable the nest is, and have made attempts to move in.

"To see other eagles come in and try to take over the territory already is not a good sign, so I think again, we're just kind of in the watch, wait, and see pattern," Pritchett McSpadden told the newspaper. "I don't want to be so morbid, but I don't think it's likely that we'll find her alive."

Meanwhile, M15 has more than stepped up to the plate.

"He has got to be dealing with the same emotional kind of detachment that we are with Harriet missing but he has really stepped it up," Pritchett McSpadden told the News-Press. "He's doing an amazing job of keeping intruders at bay and keeping the eagles fed."

It’s uncommon for single eagle parents to succeed in raising their young, but again, Pritchett McSpadden is optimistic. 

"The odds are not in his favor … but honestly, there's been success stories, so I think he's a rock star," she said. "I think he can do it, so I think I'm gonna stay positive and hope for the best."

Anyone with information regarding Harriet is urged to call the FWC at (888) 404-3922.

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