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Second eaglet born overnight Thursday

By Staff | Jan 5, 2013

The Eagle Cam Web site was much busier than usual Friday morning – and for good reason.

Ozzie and Harriet, the eagle couple that built their nest on the property of Dick Pritchett off Bayshore Road, finally welcomed their second eaglet into the world late Thursday night.

And those close to the scene hope everyone continues to watch via the webcam.

The Web site, named dickpritchettrealestate.com was drawing about 10,000 viewers late Friday morning as it showed the two eaglets together, albeit briefly as Harriet had them covered to keep them warm and dry from the cold, early-morning mist.

Meanwhile, the news was delivered on Facebook, where people shared photos of the two hatchlings taken off the live feed.

Yet another site, www.hancockwildlife.org , also has still photos of the babies, although not of the actual hatching.

The first egg hatched during the overnight hours on Wednesday.

The egg showed signs of cracking late Thursday, with the eaglet breaking out at about 9:49 p.m., according to Andrew Pritchett, who has been in charge of the Eagle Cam.

“I haven’t seen either of the eggs hatch, it’s been later in the day, but I have watched it later,” Pritchett said. “It’s been great to witness all of this happening.”

By early Friday morning, the broken shell littered the nest. In the far corner of the nest was a small pile of fish from which the eagles could feed themselves and their eaglets.

The eaglets were in full view late Friday morning. as they were being fed, presumably by Harriet, according to Pritchett, which brought nearly 10,000 viewers to witness.

Kim Trebatowski, owner of EcoPlanz, Inc., is monitoring the site. She said it’s hard to tell who exactly is at the nest, and she believes Harriet would be most likely to hunt because she is bigger, although they are most likely are taking turns.

“Some say they can tell the difference. They’ll take turns coming and going. Now that they’ve incubated, they’ll do something called rooting, where the eagles will uses their wings to protect the eaglets from the weather and predators,” Trebatowski said.

Trebatowski said the eaglets will fledge in about three months.

The best place for viewing or to photograph the birds is directly east of the property at the North Fort Myers Church of the Nazarene, at 6781 Bayshore Road, across from the new Eagles Landing/Publix Plaza.

Trebatowski said two newborns are common in Lee County. Whether they make it to where they fledge from the nest is a different story. Ozzie and Harriet traditionally have had one hatchling in recent years.

It is not recommended to watch from within your cars and not to congregate or make any sudden movements or noise as that could startle the birds and risk having an eaglet fall, especially as they grow and start moving around the nest.

Trebatowski said that after the first hatching, many people started to come around the nest to watch.

“Now that the eaglets are there, it’s better people watch from the Web site because too many people could result in the eaglet falling from the nest,” Trebatowski said. “People are excited and they don’t understand what can disturb them.”

To preserve the natural habitat of the eagles, the wireless camera is positioned six feet above the nest and is attached to a tree limb, and uses no screws or nails.

The noiseless camera also features night vision with an infrared light which emits no actual light. The camera sends a wireless signal that streams live.

Pritchett never imagined Ozzie and Harriet would become such stars. The Web site has had 1.8 million views since it started in mid-October.

“We didn’t think it would get this big. Now, everybody wants to do a story on it,” Pritchett said. “The more these people see about the eagles, the more people learn to appreciate them, their nesting habits. We are thrilled to see this happening in front of us.”