On the heels of announcing their next “Welcome Back to the Nest” event, the Marco Island Eagle Sanctuary Foundation (MESF) also has let it be known that the two Bald Eagles, Calusa and Paleo, as named by Tommie Barfield students, are actively nesting in the sanctuary. The eagles can be seen gathering materials for their nest on what is commonly referred to as Tract K.
“We are really excited because we have seen the eagles very actively working on that nest flying back and forth carrying huge branches and creating their nest,” says Linda Turner, director of operations for MESF. “In their remodeling efforts, they are actually doing some different things this year, and there is Spanish moss hanging down from it.”
Turner adds that Calusa and Paleo are not aloneat the moment. “In the past week, we have noticed a juvenile flying around the sanctuary,” she explains. “Every year one comes back, and they will hang out in the sanctuary for a couple of days, and then they usually will get chased away. A lot of birds are coming back to the sanctuary right now. It is getting a little busier in there so that is good.”
To be sure, the activity is not a surprise. This is the start of the eagle’s typical nesting season which runs for several months beginning in October. The mating pair return to the same “nesting tree” each year. Although the Australian Pine used is not native to the area, this tree has been used since the late 1980’s according to the locals. The Marco Eagle Sanctuary, located at 665 Tigertail Court, is an 11-plus-acre site maintained bythe MESF, which is a not-for profit 501(c)3 completely run by volunteers.
Over the past two years, the protected birds nested and hovered over their eggs, even producing a hatchling. According to Turner, though, none of the eggs or young survived, as the eagles were chased away, likely by holiday fireworks, abandoning the nest. Still, Turner and the members of MESF are hopeful this year will be the year the eagles successfully produce offspring.
“We are really looking forward to a successful nesting season…We really have to work to educate the renters near the sanctuary about the laws governing fireworks here. Any firework bigger than a sparkler is illegal. Hopefully, people will be more considerate this year,” Turner notes.
Turner admits it is no coincidence that the event coincides with Veterans Day. In fact, this is the third year it will be held on the same day the country honors the men and women who have fought and sacrificed for its freedom. “We are celebrating the American Eagle on the same day we have honored our veterans,” she adds. “It is very appropriate.”
Tickets can be charged by credit card at MarcoEagleSanctuaryFoundation.org, or by check payable to MESF, P.O. BOX 983, Marco Island, FL, 34146. Tickets may also be purchased at the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce. for more information, call 239 -269-1754.