Eagle Watch is a ongoing project of Audubon Florida and, previously, the US Fish and Wildlife Commission of the US Geological Survey.
The intent of the project is to locate and monitor nests of Bald Eagles, our national symbol, and until recently, a bird considered endangered.
Thanks to conservation efforts such as Eagle Watch, the species has recovered to the point that national monitoring is no longer required by federal regulations.
Nevertheless, Audubon Florida has agreed to continue monitoring Bald Eagle Nests across Florida, to ensure that the Florida population of the species is not again placed in jeopardy by lack of attention by biologists. eaglewatchflorida.org
Based on historical records of nesting in Escambia and Santa Rosa County, we believe there are between 15 and 20 pairs of Bald Eagles nesting in our area.
In the past 5 years, however, only a handful of those nests have been monitored to determine successful hatching of eggs and fledging of young eagles.
The same lack of intensive monitoring is true of Bald Eagle nests across the panhandle.
Recently, learning of this lack of nest monitoring, the four Audubon Chapters in the Florida Panhandle have joined in an effort to provide more coverage of Bald Eagle nests in our area.
So, what are we at Francis M. Weston Audubon Society planning to do?
First, local birders interested in participating in Eagle Watch may become trained by the Audubon Florida Eagle Watch coordinator, Shawnlei Breeding.
Next, known locations of historical nests in our two counties will be adopted by, or assigned to, trained volunteers. (Some known nests are so remote that monitoring may not be possible.)
Monitoring nests starts in October, the beginning of nesting season in Florida, and continues biweekly until the end of the fledging season, typically late March.
Trained monitors will regularly enter reports of their surveillance into the Eagle Watch database, contributing to the large repository of Bald Eagle nesting records in Florida.
If you are interested In joining this important citizen science project, don’t hesitate to contact Jim Brady at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 850.291.8908.