JAN 19 Update from Shawnlei Breeding, Audubon EagleWatch Program Manager
Happy New Year!
I hope everyone is staying warm out there this week, especially all of the cute, fuzzy eaglets you’ve been reporting in the database. So far we’re up to 109 eaglets seen! For those watching nests that seem to be taking their time getting started, don’t give up hope. Some pairs didn’t lay eggs until Feb or March of last season. So keep going by your nests and reporting observations at least once a month through May to confirm if the nest is truly inactive or just a late-nesting pair. Thanks!
I have a couple of important updates I wanted to share with you. As you may recall, back in April FWC approved revisions to the state Bald Eagle Rule (68A-16.002, F.A.C.), eliminating the need for applicants to obtain a state permit for activities with the potential to cause take or disturb Bald Eagles or their nests. Under the revisions, only a federal permit is now required. At that time, FWC also voted to replace the state’s Bald Eagle Management Plan with a non-regulatory Bald Eagle Species Action Plan which outlines actions to maintain a stable or increasing population of Bald Eagles in our state. Over the summer, FWC accepted comments from stakeholders and the public on a draft of the Bald Eagle Species Action Plan. FWC recently sent out an update that the new Species Action Plan is now complete and is available online: http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/managed/bald-eagle/.
I was also recently notified by US Fish and Wildlife Service that they are conducting aerial surveys of Bald Eagle nests in Florida over the next two weeks. They started in south Florida and will work their way north using a Kodiak floatplane. If you see a plane flying over your nest(s) in the next two weeks, it is likely their survey plane, but never hesitate to report any suspicious or harassing plane activity over a Bald Eagle nest to FWC and your regional Flight Standards District Office. For more information on reporting low flying planes, visit https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/field_offices/fsdo/atl/local_more/media/nlowfly.pdf.
I’m continuing to go through the mid-season data and am happy to report that the majority of the pairs that we know lost their nests to Hurricane Irma have rebuilt and are nesting again! It is wonderful to see their resilience! And I so appreciate your diligent data collection, which makes it possible for us to track important productivity trends like these. Thanks so much for all you do! And have a great weekend!
Audubon EagleWatch Program Manager
1101 Audubon Way
Maitland, FL 32751