TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Harriet, one of Florida’s most famous bald eagles has been missing from her nest for two weeks now.
As the organization’s worry grows for the birds’ whereabouts, the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam shared that Harriet’s partner, M15 fought off an intruder at their nest over the weekend.
On Sunday, the Eagle Cam posted a Facebook video of a “fierce and quick” M15 fending off the nest from another bald eagle while his two eaglets lay nestled together.
“This afternoon we witnessed an intruder landing on the nest! M15 was fierce and quick at letting this visitor know it was time to go!,” the Eagle Cam said. “Thankfully because of the high winds today, both eaglets were tucked into the nest center and unharmed.”
Harriet was last seen at the nest on Feb. 2. According to the Eagle Cam, Harriet had been vocalizing at intruders in the area before she left the camera.
“Harriet has not been seen on camera since Thursday afternoon. When she left the camera she had been vocalizing at intruders in the area,” the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam wrote. “Both the clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife and FWC are aware of the situation.”
With Harriet still missing, M15 has been protecting the young on his own and has even managed to bring food to the nest.
The Eagle Cam said male eagles aren’t used to not having a mate care for the young and that it’s “amazing” how quickly M15 has changed that behavior.
“M15 has been protecting his young and has even managed to bring food to the nest. He isn’t used to not having a mate to care for the young. He is used to having his own time away from the nest – and it is amazing how he has quickly changed that behavior,” the SWFL Eagle Cam shared.
Despite M15 caring for the young, officials said it’s still very difficult for one eagle to raise the young alone at this age, but that M is doing his “very best.”
“At this age, it is very difficult for one eagle to raise the young alone. It is not impossible and we have seen success stories in the past…. unfortunately, these are not that common, but in nature, you can never say never.”
As of 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Harriet’s whereabouts remain a mystery.
However, in the last few days, M15 was seen allowing a visiting female eagle to stay at the nest overnight. The Eagle Cam said there were “so many emotions” as they watched M15 let the visiting eagle get close to the eaglets.
“Emotions are high and the outcome of our beloved Eagle family is uncertain,” the SWFL Eagle Cam said. “Please be assured we all want the best for this eagle family, but we need to remember the final outcome as to what will be done rests with the proper authorities.”
Harriet and her partner, M15 can be seen hatching eaglets on the popular Southwest Florida Eagle Cam, which livestreams the nest 24/7.
The eagles produced two eggs last year, which hatched in January.