The overgrowth of melaleucas in front of the Pembroke Pines Bald Eagle nest has been a mixed blessing this season. There have not been crowds of observers to cause the public safety issues that were encountered the past two seasons.
However, many eyes on the nest did have a protective effect. This past week (between Wednesday March 23 and Friday the 25th), the older of the two eaglets has gone missing. Almost 10 weeks old, it was about a week younger than the fledging age observed in the past two seasons. On average, the first flight is said to occur between 10 and 12 weeks, and the eaglet looked big and healthy-- so big that it was likely a female, as sexual dimorphism can be evident in the nestlings.
It will probably be enticed to return to the nest for food within the next day. However, we have not heard it calling and there has been no report of protective behavior on the part of the adults as we have seen in the past, such as roosting near the downed eaglet's location and peering down.
Bottom line-- if anyone happens to be in the vicinity of the nest, please report behavioral observations (whether positive or negative), and of course let us know if you do see the second chick, hopefully back on the nest.