Nesting Bald Eagle Sightings are on the rise here at here at Wooten’s Everglades Airboat & Swamp Buggy Rides.
Over in the cypress swamp on Wooten’s Swamp Buggy Rides, the leaves are beginning to fall from the bald cypress. Our resident Bald Eagle’s nest is once again come into full view. It’s a magnificent sight to behold.
So, Grab you camera, your binoculars and call 1-800-282-2781 and book a swamp buggy tour and see the eagles nest from a safe and excellent vantage point for taking photographs. You will need some sort of zoom lens of course, because we don’t want to get so close as to disturb them.
You can also sign up for our newsletter and become the first to know when any eaglets arrive. It’s been an active successful nest in the past and it looks to be the same again this year. The parent Eagles are observed daily usually early in the mornings. That seems the best time. We look forward to serving and helping you experience see nature in it’s purest form… Thank you for coming by, Enjoy!
Status And Future Of The American Bald Eagle: Florida Everglades Restoration Effort
The Bald eagle, chosen to symbolize the United State in 1782, represents strength, longevity of life, and majestic beauty with its soaring presence. Soaring effortlessly in the sky, it is representative of the freedoms that we are entitled to as Americans.
As our freedoms need certain protection, the bald eagle also needs protection from environmental hazards in which we create. Once listed as an endangered species, the bald eagle has again risen, and has been removed from the list, but the fate of the bald eagle must still be protected.
Since the 18th century, when there were an estimated 50,000 nesting bald eagles, the 1960′s showed the effects of negative environmental factors when there were only approximately 450 nesting pairs left. Many efforts have been made, both by the government, and privately, to save the bald eagle, and they have worked so far.
We must continue however, and broaden the effort.
The bald eagle is a bird of prey, found in North America. Its body length ranges from 28-38 inches, with an impressive wingspan of 66-88 inches. Female bald eagles are larger than males, but both the female and male eagles have identical coloring. They mainly feed on fish, therefore their habitat is near seacoasts, rivers, and large lakes.
They perch, roost, and nest in mature coniferous, or hardwood trees. The northern eagles are migratory, seeking a new home in the winter time, and the southern birds are resident, and live in the same place year round.
Bald eagles have the same mate for life, unless one of the pair dies, and mating begins in April. It could take the pair several years to find and prepare a place for their nest before breeding. The Southern Bald Eagle begins to nest in December and January. Their nests are usually in large trees, within a mile of water, and are found 50-120 feet above ground, in a tall, sturdy tree such as the bald cypress here at Wooten’s Swampbuggy rides.
It may take them up to two weeks to prepare their nest, (eyrie, or aerie) with sticks, dead weeds, grass, dry moss, and feathers. The nest can be as large as 6-10 feet in diameter, and some two ton nests have been found. They usually stay in the same nest, but may build an alternate nest to switch back and forth.
The female bald eagle lays two eggs, sometimes three, and the eggs are goose-sized, and dull white. Sometimes they are pale blue in color. Both parents incubate, or brood the eggs, which take 34-35 days to hatch. The eaglets remain in the nest for another 12-13 weeks, to get ready for their first trial flight.
After the eaglets learn to fly, and feed themselves, they are allowed to return to the nest for the rest of the summer.
In the twentieth century, the bald eagle has been threatened in numerous ecological ways, the most dangerous threat being the contamination of their food source. After World War II, the pesticide DDT was used, and its residue washed off into lakes and streams. The plants and animals of these bodies of water, absorbed the pesticide residue, and when the bald eagle fed on the fish or plant life, became contaminated.
Because of the contamination of their food source, they began to exhibit abnormal breeding behaviors, and their egg shells of their unhatched eaglets became thin, and embryos often died. The accumulated toxic levels of lead from waterfowl and fish also contributed to the decreased population. PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, an insulating and cooling fluid in electrical transformers were released into the water also.
This along with lead, mercury, and DDT, polluted the waters, and the life in it. Before 1940, when Congress passed the Bald Eagle Protection Act, it was lawful to shoot eagles, being yet another threat to the species.
Some specific measures have been taken by government and public agencies, such as using satellite platform transmitters and serum studies to research the health and recovery of the bald eagle. The ban on DDT and PCBs was also important to improve the habitat, but we cannot stop there.
Recently, in October, 2011, the restoration task force met in West Palm Beach Florida, announcing an effort that could transform the way in which large public works projects are built across the country, in an effort to clean the grasslands from phosphorus and other pollutants. The idea is to use publicly owned lands, to store and treat water in the Everglades Agricultural Area, where farmlands exist, and move the water south, to the already founded conservation areas, including the Everglades National Park.
Because time is of essence to the ecological problem of pollution, this plan is to cut a six year plan down to eighteen months. Although the bald eagle was assigned the risk level of “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List in 2007, there is much left to do, to insure the safety of its population. The bald eagle can continue to thrive, and there is hope if we, as Americans, help.
Call us today and come see the bald eagles prepare for this years family additions… 1-800-282-2781
Ask about our combination special where you can save $10.00 per person.