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Egg watch ’17: Eagle pair begins new brood

By Staff | Nov 21, 2017

Once again, North Fort Myers’ most famous couple is expecting.

Harriett and M15, the bald eagle pair that nest on The Pritchett Farm property off Bayshore Road, are expected to have more offspring after Harriet laid an egg on Sunday, with a second forthcoming at press time.

The Pritchett Eagle Cam has been showing everything, and has debuted a new feature that will give viewers a new perspective of the nest and even give them control over what they see.

Harriet laid her first egg on Sunday at 3:24 p.m. With a second egg usually coming three to five days apart, that would mean another egg would be expected between Wednesday and Friday, according to Andrew Pritchett, who runs the eagle cam.

That is about on track to what it has been most years, and would put the expected hatching time right around Christmas, which is about the time many of Harriet’s eggs have hatched in the past.

“In seasons past we’ve had Christmas and New Year babies and even a late January baby. They’ve come around the same time, but it’s tough to say,” Pritchett said.

Perhaps most surprising is how they were able to stay on schedule after Hurricane Irma. The nest sustained little damage from the storm, but some minor repairs had to be done.

“We were thankful for the nest surviving. When the nest collapsed two years ago, they were laid a little later. This year, they were able to stay on schedule since they were doing work they would have had to do anyway.”

As for the Eagle Cam, traffic to date has been light, with about 3,500 viewers on Tuesday morning. Pritchett said he expected more to watch after the first egg was laid, since now viewers have a rough idea when the next one will come.

“We got to around 4,500 a few hours after the first egg. It’s amazing how fast the word spreads with Facebook Live and other media outlets, being able to broadcast live the nest via Facebook has brought new eyes to the cameras,” Pritchett said. “Now that there are eggs, the birds will be in the area more often to incubate.”

Pritchett said among the new eagle cam features is an “Eagle Cam 360,” one of the only 360 nature cams out, that allows viewers to control the picture.

“You can move around the nest and be able to see the branches and look down at the nest. It’s neat to give the viewer a little more control of what they’re looking at,” Pritchett said.

This goes along with previous improvements, such as a zoom on the nest and the immediate area around the nest, and a wide view camera that shows the nest area.

For a live look at the doings of Harriett and M15 visit the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam at dickpritchettrealestate.com/eagle-feed.html