Eaglet E5 dies; one baby remains
Ozzie and Harriet will have only one young to look after this season.
One of the eaglets, E5, passed away Tuesday evening around 10:15 p.m., much to the sadness of the thousands of followers who have watched the eaglets grow.
“It is with a heavy heart, we report E5 has passed away. Fly High and Free E5! Your time was short but sweet for certain,” said a statement on the website.
The cause of death was unknown. Andrew Pritchett, of Dick Pritchett Real Estate who runs the Eagle Cam, was out of town.
Michelle Van Deventer, Bald Eagle Plan coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said she heard the news Wednesday and was still in the information gathering stage, as it seemed to happen rather quickly.
Van Deventer said she got some calls Tuesday that E5 looked lethargic, but that is was hard to tell what was wrong without direct contact.
“At 6:30 p.m. I checked on them and it was still breathing. This morning I got an e-mail that it had passed away,” Van Deventer said.
This isn’t the first time Ozzie, Harriet and those following online have witnessed tragedy. Last year, eaglet E3 passed away after just 6 weeks of life.
At that time, viewers were concerned that the remains stayed in the nest.
That response caused the webmasters to issue a warning on the Eagle Cam page that remains today.
“Eagles are wild birds and anything can happen in the wild. The Southwest Florida Eagle Cameras do not interfere or intervene and allow nature to take its course. You will see life and you might see death, but this is nature at her finest,” the site warns.
This year, there seemed to be more understanding among the hardcore viewers, though some of the newer ones still found the sight of E6, as it was fed its sibling, to be disturbing.
Such things are normal among eagles. Van Deventer said the feeding of its sibling could be dangerous if the illness was communicable or a food-borne illness.
Responses ran the gamut from calling it the “circle of life” to warnings that if you find the images disturbing, turn away.
Van Deventer said she was happy so many people are concerned.
“I appreciate it as a human being and an animal lover that it’s hard to watch. Trying to explain it away can be a little cold-hearted,” Van Deventer said. “It’s hard to see them feeding on a baby raccoon. It sounds cold and callous to say it’s nature because you’re rooting for them and get attached.”
The webcam can be found at dickpritchettrealestate.com/eagle-feed.html