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Wayward eaglet E21 returns to North Fort Myers nest

 One of two eaglets missing from the North Fort Myers nest since Friday returned to the site Wednesday.
Southwest Florida Eagle Cam
Special to WGCU
One of two eaglets missing from the North Fort Myers nest since Friday returned to the site Wednesday.

Both eagles vanished, E21 for nearly five days and E22 overnight. But both are now back in the nest.

Nobody has a clue where the older eaglet of Harriet and M15 went for nearly five days; they're just glad the raptor fledgling returned to the nest.

"Just wild," said Virginia Pritchett McSpadden, Southwest Florida Eagle Cam website owner and operator, on Wednesday. "I cheered when I saw it. Still in disbelief."

Named E21 for its status as the 21st of the birds hatched at the nest, the eaglet was seen Friday afternoon flying off eastward, the neighboring church steeple in the background. Shortly after noon Wednesday the eaglet simply floated down and landed back at the nest.

Braun, Michael

The same sort of speculation occurred about E21 as had about his mother, Harriet, who vanished from the nest on Feb. 2 and has not been seen since.

The eaglet had fledged a few days earlier and had been making practice flights right before lighting out for parts unknown and leaving sibling E22, a few days younger by hatch, sitting forlornly along at the Bayshore Road nest.

Dad M15 remained diligent, bringing food to the nest on a regular basis for his offspring. Even a short one-day vanishing act by E22 didn't deter dad.

Vanishing eagles: Gone and suddenly back, E21 and E22 back together.

Those watching the nest via the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam website and Facebook page were ecstatic.

"Fantastic news! Prayers were answered for E21 Together again."

"A huge sigh of relief!"

"Welcome home young ones! Keep getting smarter and stronger. We love you!"

McSpadden confirmed E21's vanishing act.

"Abnormal," McSpadden said Sunday. "But not uncommon."

And during a chat on the cam web site, McSpadden, in response to a question from a chat participant, said the 2022-23 season has been intense … and not over yet.

"We expect the E's to return, and so hoping to see them at the pond," she said. Wednesday proved her correct.

Copyright 2023 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.

Michael Braun
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