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Nearly a dozen eagle nests under watch around Sanibel and Captiva

 A bald eagle building a nest in the Sanibel-Captiva area.
SCCF
/
Special to WGCU
A bald eagle building a nest in the Sanibel-Captiva area.

Florida's bald eagle season underway now through May 15.

The first day of October marked the official start of nesting season for bald eagles in Florida, though the birds typically begin returning to their nests in late August or early September.

Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation staff and a team of volunteers are working together to monitor 10 nesting pairs on North Captiva, Captiva, Sanibel, and just off-island.

SCCF coordinates with Audubon Florida’s EagleWatch program for data collection and entry. EagleWatch tracks active nest locations and possible disturbances or threats to nesting activities for about 40% of Florida’s nesting bald eagles.

More about eagles

  • Florida’s bald eagles rebounded after Hurricane Ian’s destruction
  • Despite Hurricane Ian destroying every bald eagle nest that SCCF monitored last year, nine of 10 pairs were able to rebuild their nests before the nesting season was over, and nine chicks were fledged.

    “They’re already busy repairing and rebuilding their nests this season, and the one pair that did not opt to rebuild last year was recently spotted constructing a new nest structure,” said SCCF Shorebird Biologist Audrey Albrecht. “We’re hopeful that this pair and all the others will be successful this year.”

     What the beginning of a bald eagle nest looks like.
    SCCF
    /
    Special to WGCU
    What the beginning of a bald eagle nest looks like.

    Like bald eagles, many humans on Sanibel and Captiva are still rebuilding from last year’s devastation, and Albrecht said a lot of questions have come up about what kind of construction can occur near eagle nests.

    Although bald eagles are no longer a listed under the Endangered Species Act, they are still protected by both state and federal laws, including the Florida Eagle Rule, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

    Construction activities should not take place within 660 feet of an active nest.

    Homeowners and contractors can determine if their property is within the 660-foot buffer of an active bald eagle nest by viewing Audubon’s EagleWatch map with buffers.

    Learn about obtaining permits for work around bald eagle nests.

    If you have any questions regarding eagles or want to share your eagle observations or photos, please email eagles@sccf.org.

    WGCU is your trusted source for news and information in Southwest Florida. We are a nonprofit public service, and your support is more critical than ever. Keep public media strong and donate now. Thank you.

    Copyright 2023 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.

    WGCU Staff