The beloved bald eagle pair that gained a country-wide following after Hurricane Ian destroyed their nest is now adding two eaglets to their family.
Harriet and M15 have been a favorite couple for bird watchers for over a decade, but they earned newfound respect after they picked up the pieces of their North Fort Myers home immediately following the catastrophic September storm.
People have observed their months of work with the help of the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam liver cameras. Most recently, those cameras brought good news when they showed that Harriet laid two eggs. Her first came on Nov. 29 at 6:09 pm, and the second came on Dec. 2 at 8:09 pm.
M15 perched above her and watched for predators as she laid her eggs, and he kept a lookout through the night. In the morning, he flew back to the nest to help care for the growing eagles. Over the next 35 or so days, Harriet and her lifemate will share the incubation duties.
“They have worked hard at rebuilding their nest from scratch after Hurricane Ian destroyed it and now they are starting a new family in this freshly built nest made with love,” the SWFEC website said.
Famous Bald Eagle Pair Rebuild Nest After Hurricane Ian
The bald eagles are no strangers to hurricanes and tropical storms. Throughout their lives in Florida, strong winds have demolished their tree-top home on several occasions.
When Ian neared, the birds instinctively knew to evacuate. And on September 28, the cameras showed that they had left. When the hurricane blew in, it took every piece of Harriet and M15’s nest—”not a single stick was left.”
As soon as the weather cleared, the duo returned to their pine tree that overlooks a horse field and began construction on a new nest. By mid-October, they had nearly completed the task.
The birds’ ongoing determination and resilience left birdwatchers in tears. Since the camera began recording in 2012, observers have watched as two storms forced them to rebuild. And several other storms over the years left the nest in need of heavy repair.
“It’s just given many people hope and strength to see that while humans continue to build and strengthen, the eagles are doing the same,” SWEC founder Ginnie Pritchett told The Washington Post. “If they are taking the next steps, then we can, too.”