Owl strike, hail…M15 carries on. Sunday in Bird World

12 February 2022

Good Morning Everyone,

First, I want to address the issue of the blog where I reported that Harriet had returned to the nest. If I discover that I have made a mistake, I will always rectify it as soon as I can. I am human and each of you have my sincerest apologies. I do know the little wisps on M15’s head (but not Harriet’s head) and I saw the younger eagle on the branch and the older one in the nest feeding the eaglets. As did so many. I was not the only one fooled at the time in believing that somehow Harriet had just casually flown back into the nest. But neither one of those eagles were Harriet. I wish one of them had been. Instead, it was M15 feeding the old bunny leg to the kids (thanks H). The intruding female was on the branch and then on the rim of the nest and then in the nest before M15 ran her off. Not Harriet. I feel awful.

So let’s go over to the SWFlorida Nest for Saturday and see what did happen, even in all that confusion at the end of the day.

It is after 1455 and the Es have only had one meal so far today. That was at 09:11:45. In fact, it was the fish left from yesterday and 22 got it and I hope Dad had some, too.

Beautiful 21 with its gorgeous ebony juvenile feathers coming in…and look, the yellow mouth! 21 missed breakfast.

It is really windy today in Fort Myers. M15 has been away and is back. Is there an intruder at the nest?

M15 has been feeding his eaglets many times per day but, not today. Was it just the intruder that stopped his hunting? As we all know, stress can do many things. Just today, an individual moving a log near a bear den in Canada caused the mother to run away, abandoning her nest and her cub.

Most of the people around the SWFlorida Eagle nest mean well. Like the person moving the log, they do not understand what could result from their actions. People make mistakes. We do not intend to. The person using the flashlight and the flash camera has apologised. S/he wanted to do something nice for their parent. They stood up, explained, and said they were truly sorry. I am certain that they felt horrible when they discovered that the flash drove M15 off the nest for 3 hours. Yes, the GHOs could have snatched the eaglets during that time. Thankfully, nothing happened. A GHO was probably the farthest thing from the person’s mind. I can only imagine how wretched they would feel if they discovered their actions had led to the death of the eaglets. To the person who was there, thank you for stepping up and admitting to your error.

We think of the flash, the releasing of the two white mice, leaving food at the base of the tree as interfering. As humans we do not know how this will turn out. Many of you wrote and said that you were so happy that no one had taken E21 and E22 off the nest – that M15 rose to the job. He certainly did and we hope that he can continue. Indeed, one of the threads that will run through any breeding season is: should humans interfere? and if so when? and to what extent? There are certainly laws pertaining to this but, in some cases there is reason to help such as the little abandoned bear cub mentioned above.

Keeping with this vein of intervention, interference, etc, Geemeff sent me an essay by Dr Marc Bekoff, a leading expert of animal behaviour. It is called “Four-Day-Old Baby Orangutan needlessly Killed at the Basel Zoo”. I know that – despite it being about other wildlife, we need to read this. Geemeff thinks I need to include a health warning. Duly noted. Thank you for this Geemeff. This is the situation and the question: The mother died. There was nothing wrong with the Baby Orangutan. The ‘zoo staff’ did not think it would thrive so they killed it! Do humans have the right to make this decision? These are things we should be thinking about.


There are some links at the end of the blog that will lead you to more information. It is time that we began asking difficult questions about how we approach wildlife in terms of ethics and morals. Our track record of protecting our planet and all its living beings is dismal. Why do we think we have the right? or even the knowledge to decide life and death?

I have also started putting together the material for Harriet on the 2023 Memorial page. I hope to be finished in a fortnight. I think that we can all presume that the nest is now that of M15, E21, and E22. There is much information on where eagles go to die as I am reminded by my friend, ‘A’. I hope to touch on that this week as we begin to process life without dear Harriet.

As everyone knows, at around 15:45, M15 landed on the nest. He was being chased by the female intruder. He brought a fish to the nest to feed the babies. Was the female hungry? was that why she chased him? ‘H’ confirms that M15 was also on the nest later, at 17:13:57 and fed the rabbit left overs. So a fish this morning left from yesterday was fed to 21. The additional fish and then rabbit leftovers were fed at the end of the day, 22 got some at the end of the feeding. With all the commotion let us hope that things normalise Saturday night for Sunday. Thanks ‘H’. I had not seen that fish!

M15 feeding 21 who is enjoying this fish. S/h had missed out on the morning fish so is hungry. Time is 1608.

Lady Hawk caught the GHO strike- thanks ‘A’:

And then there was the bad weather with either hail or heavy rain when M15 came down to the nest to be with the eaglets. It was 02:45. He stayed until approximately 0414.

M15 brought a fish to the nest and was feeding 21 and 22. It was just after 1004.

In the other nests:

Gabby and V3 certainly have an awkward relationship sometimes…especially when it involves food. Gabby thinks that any prey brought to the nest is hers. That is what Samson did but her new mate, V3, has always eaten his food on the nest. We have watched him do this. So was this V3’s lunch and Gabby wanted it? Talons hooked again. If I were V3 I would think hard and act quick…your gal Gabby is hungry and she will rip your talon off for that squirrel! or bird or fish. HeidiMc caught Saturday’s action.

At the KNF-E3 nest of Valentine and Nugget, Nugget stood on both feet/talons Saturday morning. This means that leg is healing. Fantastic. They both have their juvenile feathers and the weather continued to be soggy.

At the KNF-E1 nest of Anna and Louis, the eaglet has been named Trey. Can you see Trey’s crop? And look at that mohawk? Is it in the shape of a heart? Trey is a big eaglet!!!!! Wonder how long it will take them to make their way through all that fish?

Tonya Irwin edited all those fish deliveries the other day into a single video. Have a look and a giggle. Louis, you are amazing.

Elain brings us up to date with what is happening at Orange with Xavier, Diamond, and Indigo…

Indigo is simply tooooooooo cute. Once they discover the reflection on the camera lens it is adorable the poses the eyases and fledglings make.

There are now two eggs at the Bald Eagle nest of Rosa and Martin (Dulles-Greenway). There is going to be an informative discussion. Here are the details. You might want to listen in.

Angus seems to have a new step stool? or is this a new mating technique? Mabel does not seem too impressed. I do wonder if these two will have eggs this year at Captiva?

It was another great day at the Superbeaks nest. Pearl and Tico are just beautiful juveniles. Well done Pepe and Muhlady. Did I tell you? There was an announcement that the nest would be on line next year. Nice. I am so glad that it was recommended to me.

Making News:

An arrest for smuggling songbirds into the US. Finally! I want you to imagine being stuffed into a hair curler on a flight!


Woodpeckers seem to like to stash peanuts in people’s chimneys.


Two more Kakapo named today.

Only 3 of the 6 ospreys with trackers checked in today and one of those was Ervie!!!!!! Still at Port Lincoln. Living the good life. Zoe has missed quite a number of check ins. Not sure whether to worry or sit back and wait to see if her tracker comes into range.

Thank you so very much for being with me and thank you for your kind letters today. I really appreciate your understanding. Take care of yourselves. See you soon!

Thank you to the following for their notes, their videos, their posts, and their streaming cams where I took my screen capture to create this blog: ‘H’, ‘A’, Geemeff, SWFlorida Eagles and D Pritchett, Black Bear Rescue Manitoba, Marc Bekoff, NEFL-AEF, Heidi Mc and NEFL-AEF, KNF-E3, KNF-E1, Tonya Irwin and KNF-E1, Elain and Charles Sturt Falcon Cam and Cilla Kinross, Sassa Bird and Bald Eagles Live Nest Cams and News, Window to Wildlife, Superbeaks, The Guardian, Kakapo Recovery, and Port Lincoln Ospreys.

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  1. Sabine says:

    Thank you for another beautiful blog post! Indigo really made me laugh 😂 M15 has fed breakfast to his darlings and, at least for now, we can keep calm and breathe…As for Rosa and Martin, the beautiful Rosa has already managed to lay the 3rd egg!!! Good luck to them. I must admit I have really grown to love this couple, especially Rosa – such a protective and fierce mom, can’t wait to see how things will turn out this season. I hope Zoe’s fine and just getting acquainted with the world and discovering all her amazing skills in action 🙏♥️

    1. Oh, Sabine, Rosa and Martin are quite special. Three eaglets is a lot to care for…always hope for one really healthy one or two the same gender! and lots of food…Well, Zoe, is a mystery. And it is getting a little uncomfortable. She would have to be out of the range of a cell tower and yes, there are spaces in South Australia. I hope she turns up! Thank you for your letter, Sabine.

  2. Geemeff says:

    Dear departed Harriet! Don’t blame yourself for having hope, Mary Ann, we all wanted the female to be Harriet. But not to be, and good dad M15 is soldiering on alone.

    We need hope when we hear of animals being killed needlessly just for our convenience. Read the essay to see just how many times this happens. Disgusting and disgraceful. No humanity in some humans…

    But then you told us of the finch smuggler being convicted – and suddenly there’s a feeling that maybe the actions of the caring will overcome the actions of the evil, or the unthinking like the mouse-leaver and flash photographer.

    As always, your interesting and informative newsletters are much appreciated.

    1. That essay by Bekoff is not only enlightening but frightening. The plan is for a trip out to our zoo to ask some questions! I can see ‘mercy’ but then one has to know precisely what that means…I do hope that the caring prevail!!!!! We must keep up the good fight as they say.

  3. I so wanted to believe that Harriet had miraculously returned..When looking at this eagle, I thought, OMG what happened to you, you’re thin, and marks on your head. Didn’t know what to expect to see when a long time missing eagle returns..but then..I watched M’s reaction to her..He didn’t want her there..So my thoughts where that she was badly hurt that he didn’t recognize her or she’s an intruder..I apologize for my lack of knowledge on Eagles..I should have realized that M surely would recognize her by sight / sound..Back to praying
    I miss Rubus, but love Indigo..Was smiling forever watching him. My heart felt happy for the time being..
    Gosh, I often wonder about Gabby & V3..He’s got lots to learn if he stays/ or Gabby keeps him..about bonding..He’s on his way tho!!
    Question?? If Harriet comes back in 1-3 weeks..M would recognize her, right? Would the eaglets?
    I’ve been wondering where the xtra fish have been coming from..I don’t remember that many huge fish 4-5 x’s/ day..Now it’s like it’s back to normal, kinda.
    I was awake & watching the nest when the Owl strike happened..Great full that neither he or 21 were hurt..Not sure why he took off a bit later, alerting..Maybe the owlets are now flying around near the nest??, but he came right back..I went to bed about 3:30 am and it was a bad wind driven rain..Poor kids, dad’s umbrella wasn’t working ;-)..TY for all your words of wisdom, your blogs are very enlightening..I learn a lot..God Bless

    1. It is such a relief that no one has been injured in those owl strikes. I so thought they might be busy feeding their young to leave M15 alone..he does have a lot on his plate. I would love to see more fish on the nest but we certainly know now that the female intruder – along with other things – hinders the hunting for food. That rain was so bad…hoping you got some sleep. Wish for fish and for Harriet…and thank you.

  4. Cindy Hunter says:

    Mary Ann, As always, thank you for your informative information and photos. You truly have a gift to write, and your time, as well as information to help educate us is greatly appreciated! No apologies needed as so many of us thought it was Harriet too.

  5. Alison says:

    Unfortunately, Sunday was not a good food day for E22, who is hungry this morning and is begging dad to go and get him some fish. He is again frightened to eat, although not as terrorised as he was a week or so ago. The stressors of GHOs, humans and intruders have impacted M15’s hunting and fishing. Very little food has been brought to the next over the past 36 hours and with the exception of half a nice breakfast fish, most of it has gone to E21. There has not been much to go around.

    I do hope this intruder either brings in a fish or leaves this nest alone!! I would hate to see it revert to the aggression we saw previously, but after feeling relaxed about it for a few days, I am back to worrying daily. E22 has learned a lot of skills and his snatch and grab technique betters even that of Rocket (from NEFL), who was last year’s champion. He is also learning to self-feed. Hopefully, this will get him through.

    1. I was very hopeful until the man with the flash and the female intruder caused havoc at the nest…everyone is extremely hungry including Dad. I hope he catches a fish and eats the whole thing himself and then he brings a whole one to the kids, half for one and half for the other…we live in that hope.

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