Volunteers help save Florida’s bald eagles one bird at a time.
There are some 250 Floridians who serve as eagle watch volunteers. They're kids and retirees, men and women all spending hours each week monitoring the state's real snowbirds. The bald eagles who typically spend a few months wintering in the state between the months of October and May. The volunteers report back to Eagle Watch headquarters in Maitland, noting such details as when the eagles return to their nest, when they start nesting, when eaglets hatch, even when eagles fight each other over territory. Eagles will make their nest just about anywhere there's a tall tree and sources of food. Such as creeks or lakes. Others with three nests on Florida Space Coast, one in a back yard in Melbourne, another near Cape Canaveral and a third seen here behind a fire station just south of Cocoa Beach. The nest near the Cape is monitored by nine year old Makayla Wheeler, and her parents, Kim and Mike. We looked in, we looked with our binoculars and we actually saw that there was a nest in there and, it was the eagle and they had come back so. It just caught our eye. He was flying in from the river over there where they fish. They fish over here by the river which is not even half a mile. In addition to the nest behind the fire station, Ed Slaney also monitors the nest in Melbourne. Retired from the Navy, he's volunteered for eagle watch for about 20 years. In that time, he's reported on the routine and the not so routine. He's even helped rescue orphan eaglets and watch as they've been placed in the nests of eagles, newly ordained as foster parents. This winter, while you're out and about on your daily errands, watch the side of the road. You may just see an eagle watch volunteer monitoring or even rescuing one of the nation's most beautiful living symbols. I'm Richard Banks, Livings Editor for Southern Living.