By Linda Turner
The Marco Eagle Sanctuary Foundation (MESF) is pleased to announce that the American bald eagles on Tract K are the proud parents of two new eaglets, which hatched on Dec. 18.
One adult eagle can be observed perched on the edge of the nest while the other is frequently seen flying back to the nest with a fish in talons for family meals.
Bald eagles remain with their mates and return to their traditional nests each year. Bald eagle nesting season in Florida is Oct. 1 to May 15. At the end of nesting season in May, the fledglings fly off and the adults leave the nest until fall. However, last May, the adult eagles left the nest but they did not leave the Tract K property. Instead, they remained in the back of the property in lower trees throughout the entire summer.
Recently, a significant increase of eagle enthusiasts has been seen on the Tigertail Court sidewalk at the property’s edge, observing this amazing wildlife with their binoculars and cameras on tripods. Visitors include the Naples Bird Watch Group (seen on rented yellow bikes), the Road Scholars (a bird tour group from Orlando), as well as many out-of-state visitors and daily local residents, sometimes in lawn chairs. (Please keep disturbances to a minimum by staying on the sidewalk at the Tract K property edge.)
Local resident, Donna Anthus, has documented eagle activity on Tract K since October 2004. Every year in late September or early October, the eagles return to rebuild their nest. She has observed the eagles using each of the tall trees on the property for different purposes; trees for sleeping, trees for eating fish and birds, their preferred trees for preening, and another tree where they perch while their eggs are incubating. She has documented the eaglets early days in the nest, family feedings, and how the entire Tract K property has been utilized as the adults teach the fledglings to fly, hunt and eat on their own.
Years ago, Marco Island was a large bald eagle sanctuary. After years of hotel, condo, residential and business development, there is only one active nest with breeding activity on the Island. The bald eagle is a federal and state protected species requiring a 330-feet circumferential buffer zone from the nest tree, which includes most of the Tract K property.
The American bald eagle is the most thoroughly studied bird and is the largest raptor (bird of prey) in North America. Most notably, the bald eagle is our national symbol for the United States. Welcome Eaglets to your new home.
MESF will meet at 4 p.m. on Tuesday in the Community Room of the Fifth Third Bank located at 650 E. Elkcam Circle.