Widower Florida Bald Eagle Spending Nights With New Female, Away From Eaglets

M15’s longtime mate, Harriet, disappeared a month and a half ago.

Southwest Florida Eagle Cam

Southwest Florida Eagle Cam

There’s never a dull moment for Florida’s most famous bald eagle family. 

From Harriet’s heartbreaking disappearance to the tense weeks that followed as newly single dad M15 struggled to care for their two young eaglets alone, Southwest Florida Eagle Cam has provided enough drama to fuel a Netflix series. 

Now, as eaglets E21 and E22 grow nearer to fledging, the feathered family’s story is evolving from one of against-all-odds survival to an inspiring example of perseverance. And just maybe, of love after loss.  

Fans have watched as various female suitors have attempted, with varying levels of success, to woo M15 since Harriet’s death. R23-3, the female that managed to assist with feeding time, came the closest to winning his heart. But, recent behavior suggests that M15 recently made his deepest connection yet—one strong enough to pull him away from his fiercely guarded nest. 

“Well it’s official! March 15, 2023 the first night M15 stayed at a nearby tree instead of his usual spot at the nest,” Southwest Florida Eagle Cam announced on Twitter. “He followed a female to the spot. Could it be a new interest?!”

This development, while promising in some respects, has created a new cause of stress for viewers. M15’s absence from the nest leaves E21 and E22 unprotected from opportunistic scavengers. 

According to Southwest Florida Eagle Cam co-founder, Ginnie Pritchett McSpadden, the adult eagles are “currently battling numerous Great Horned Owl attacks each night.” 

“Luckily, the eagles have not been harmed and continue to come back home after the hits,” she told Southern Living.  

Meanwhile, at the nest, E21 and E22 are growing bigger and stronger by the hour. E21, who is the oldest by almost three days, even made its first attempt at flying last week. It was a monumental moment.

Bald eagles typically live 20 to 30 years in the wild. These majestic birds mate for life, or until one of the two dies. 

Harriet began nesting on Ginnie Pritchett McSpadden’s family property in Fort Myers in 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 M15 shortly after Ozzie’s death in 2015. This year was Harriet and M15’s eighth together. The pair welcomed E21 and E22 in January.

Young bald typically stay in the nest until they are about 12 weeks old. E21 and E22 are now approximately 10 weeks old, and are showing numerous signs of independence.

Visit SWFLEagleCam.com to watch this precious family continue to defy the odds.  

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