Great news to Marco Islanders! The Live Eagle Camera is ON at the Marco Island Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary (MINP). You can now view the eagle’s nest by visiting www.MarcoIslandnaturepreserve.org. The Eagle Cam is looking slightly above the nest and has the ability to pan, tilt and zoom in and out.
The MINP is located at 665 Tigertail Court on 11.6 acres of natural preserve teeming with wildlife and native plants. It is the vision of the MINP to “preserve the land and protect the wildlife for future generations and to educate children and adults about our ecosystem and the environment.”
October 1 is the official start of the bald eagle nesting season. The eagles start by checking out the nest and if they are serious, they will start bringing in twigs, branches and leaves to fortify the nest.
According to Linda Turner, Director of Communications for MINP, “you can usually observe some activity around the beginning of October. A couple of bald eagles have already been observed checking out the nest. The eagles would fly in and around the MINP poking around. Sometimes they would bring a fish and have lunch at the nest.”
During Hurricane Irma, MINP’s resident eagles, Paleo and Calusa stayed closed to the nest. Islanders reported that both eagles were back on their Australian pine nest the day after Irma hit. With their impressive wingspan of 6-7 feet, they sat with wings outstretched drying out. That was an inspiring sight for residents to see!
The equipment for the camera was installed during the summer of 2017 but Hurricane Irma and the nesting season delayed the camera mounting.
According to MINP, “the Eagle Cam will be a very valuable educational tool broadcasting the eagles’ activity online to all school children and eagle lovers. People everywhere will be able to view the eagles from anywhere in the world.”
The Florida Fish and Wildlife has classified the bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) as a threatened species. The main threat to bald eagles is the loss of habitat due to development.
Islanders, snowbirds, students, birders and visitors arrive daily just before sunset at 667 Tigertail Court. They sit and wait patiently for a chance to see Marco’s bald eagles. This is just one more reason to protect their habitats for future generation.
Be Part of the Bald Eagle Conservation at the Marco Island Nature Preserve by purchasing a customized brick paver available in 3 sizes. These are installed in front of the MINP (www.marcoislandnaturepreserve.org). Or join the Christmas Home Tour featuring 4 homes decorated for the holidays scheduled for November 30. The MINP and Calusa Garden Club host the event. Tickets are now available at www.eventbrite.com. Eagle Cam Sponsors are welcome. Please contact 239-269-1754.
Thanks to Coastal Breeze News the Eagle Cam Live is featured both at their website (www.CoastalBreezeNews.com) and Facebook page!
Bald Eagle Watching Etiquette
For the safest and least intrusive viewing experience, please follow these guidelines when observing or photographing nesting eagles:
- Use binoculars or a spotting scope to observe eagles closely. Photographers should use telephoto lenses.
- Do not stand directly under an eagle nest or in close view of the eagles. The recommended viewing distance is at least 330 feet.
- Once parked safely off the road, remain in or near your vehicle. Vehicles can serve as very effective “bird blinds.”
- Do not make loud or sudden noises. Avoid yelling, car door slamming, or horn honking.
- Move quickly and quietly to any designated observation areas.
- Never try to make eagles fly or stand up at the nest.
- Keep pets at home.
The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission recommends that you “always give eagles and other wildlife the space they need.”