Ozzie and Harriet back home to nest in North Fort Myers
Ozzie and Harriet, North Fort Myers’ most popular eagles, have returned to nest after their summer vacation up north.
And for another year, you’ll be able to watch their family’s every move while in the nest, thanks to the Dick Pritchett Eagle Cam.
Last year, the eagle cam got more than 17 million visits as people watched Ozzie and Harriet lay their eggs, and waited with bated breath as they produced two offspring on New Year’s Day, Hope and Honor.
We watched the babies grow, learn to walk, fly, and eventually leave the nest before the proud parents headed north.
After some technical problems late last week, the eagle cam is back, fully functional, with its more frequent visitors giving updates to when they make trips back to their winter home.
This mating season, there will be a new addition to the eagle cam, a second camera has been placed about 30 yards to the north of the nest in another tree so people can see how the eagles interact with nature.
The camera will be able to pan, zoom and show different views, including in the pond about 100 yards from the nest, according to Andrew Pritchett, brainchild of the eagle cam.
“A lot of our viewers are international. We wanted to give them a different view of the nest so when the eagles are in the area above the nest, last year you couldn’t see that,” Pritchett said. “We want to give them more options and see them interact in their habitat.”
Pritchett said it will show that living near civilization hasn’t affected their breeding habits or mood, that they’re able to live as urban eagles.
The eagle cam did much more than simply provide entertainment. It became an essential educational tool for teachers nationwide to show the wonders of nature.
Pritchett said that was the goal, but didn’t expect it to happen so fast.
“We didn’t think we would reach 16 million views in our first season. That we did was fantastic because it is such an interesting thing about nature we’re not able to normally view,” Pritchett said.
When a class is watching and someone poses a question, one of numerous volunteers answers what they can and allow them to use it as enjoyable education, like a reality series of bald eagles, Pritchett said.
The eagles returned in mid-September to the Dick Pritchett Real Estate property, where the couple has produced nine fledglings since building their nest there several years ago.
They wasted no time in reinforcing their nest and getting it ready for nesting season in the hopes of producing more offspring, which they have done in Southwest Florida since 1990.
“They’re in the area early morning and late afternoon. We started seeing this a few weeks ago,” Pritchett said. “They come around in the morning for 20 minutes, move some sticks around, hang around the tree and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. they’re gone.”
Even before that, people were streaming by to take a look at the famous nest, which has become a year-long attraction thanks to the work of the eagle cam.
“People like to visit the nest so when they watch it on the computer they have a better feel for where the nest is and its surroundings,” Pritchett said.
For a look at the eagles, visit dickpritchettrealestate.com/eagle-feed.html