The eaglet was 67 days old on March 22, the last day it was sighted, and no adults have been reported at the nest since March 20th, when the chick was again noted to be submissive when fed, rather unusual as compared to the eaglets we observed during three previous seasons. No observations were recorded for March 21, and the eaglet was never observed to be branching or helicoptering, something that usually happens during the week or so before fledging -- see the Milestone Chart here: http://www.rosyfinch.com/EagleMilestonesSheet.pdf
I discussed the situation with Michelle Van Deventer, Florida FWC Bald Eagle Coordinator. She agrees with my feeling that the eaglet has died, based on the fact that their initial flights are usually of short duration and they tend to stay in the area of the nest and return to the nest to be fed. The absence of any calling and the failure of parents to bring food to the nest (to lure the chick back) also support this assumption.
Mary Lou and I checked the nest this afternoon and found no eaglet or adults. We also scanned the big lake in Sunset Lakes, including the lighthouse where the adults have been seen in the past, but there was no sign of any eagles.
We should research whether nesting failure is ever responsible for abandonment of an established nest in the following season.
All eagle watchers should be on the alert for sightings of adults or (hopefully) a very dark juvenile anywhere, especially in the area of SW Broward County
Oh, that is very sad to me that you think the chick has died. I think this would be the first time since I have been watching the nest. I hope he will turn up, but you seem pretty definite in your assessment. :(
Such great sadness. I had been hoping that perhaps with only one mouth to fed this year that it developed at a quicker pace....but just wishes for a good outcome I guess. With no branching and wing exercising a different outcome is more likely, sadly. Like Mike...I would be happy to participate or help with any plans to try to find out what happened.