Eagles embody the living symbol of freedom, power, and transcendence. These birds sit at the top of the food chain, with some species preying on animals as large as sloths and even monkeys. If you’re a birding enthusiast and you’ve always wanted to see eagles in their natural habitat, Fort Myers is definitely a destination that you’re going to want to visit. Let’s take a look at the four different eagles that you can find in Fort Myers, Florida.
Are There Eagles in Fort Myers, Florida?
In the United States, eagles are of particular importance, as the Bald Eagle is the national symbol. It comes as no surprise that Florida is one of the preferred locations for these beautiful birds. In fact, four different species of eagles can be found in Fort Myers, Florida.
Eagles that can be found in Fort Myers, Florida include:
- Bald Eagles
- Golden Eagles
- Steller’s Sea Eagles
- White-Tailed Eagles
The Bald Eagle is most commonly found in Florida, while the Steller’s Sea Eagle is the least common. Fort Myers, which is situated in Florida’s Central Gulf Coast region, is one of the most popular locations for eagle sightings.
The Bald Eagle
Approximately 1,500 Bald Eagle pairs call the Sunshine State home (eagles are monogamous, meaning that they mate with the same partner for life). These magnificent birds have a jaw-dropping wingspan of six to seven and a half feet wide and can weigh as much as 15 pounds.
Bald Eagles feature a distinctive white head, a yellow hooked beak and feet, a large whitetail, and a dark body. Bald Eagles nest near bodies of water, including oceans, rivers, and lakes; as their main source of food is fish. No wonder why Florida – and Fort Myers, FL, in particular – is a haven for Bald Eagles.
The Golden Eagle
The Golden Eagle is one of the biggest and fastest raptors in the Sunshine State. Like their cousins, the Bald Eagle, the Golden Eagle has a distinct look. Their feathers are a golden-brown color with bits of white on the underside of their wings and tail. Their hooked beak and talons are powerful, and these, coupled with their intense speed and agility, help make Golden Eagles excellent hunters. While Golden Eagles prefer open spaces, they can live just about anywhere, including near waterways.
The White-Tailed Eagle
The White-Tailed Eagle has a short, white tail (hence the name), and brown feathers cover the rest of its body. White-Tailed Eagles have a yellow hooked beak and yellow eyes, complete with a yellow eye ring. Their legs and feet are also yellow, and their talons are black. They’re often mistaken for Bald Eagles, as they do look similar. However, the head of the White-Tailed Eagle is a lighter brown color, whereas the Bald Eagle has a white head.
White-Tailed Eagles nest on cliffs, and while they do reside in Florida, the possibility of seeing one is slim-to-none, as they are very elusive. Still, sightings have occurred, and the best time to spot one is along the coast between the months of March and April, as this is their mating season.
The Steller’s Sea Eagle
The Steller’s Sea Eagle can also be found in Florida. These enormous birds are simply stunning. They have a striking appearance, as their bodies are covered with dark-colored feathers, and their tails, bottoms, shoulders, foreheads, and thighs are covered with contrasting white features.
The wingspan of the Steller’s Sea Eagle can reach as wide as eight feet, and they can weigh up to 20 pounds, making them larger than the Bald Eagle. Their main food source is fish, though they do also dine on shellfish, squid, and crabs, which is why they can be spotted near the water, including in Fort Myers, FL.
Eagle Sightings in Fort Myers, Florida
Fort Myers, Florida is a haven for eagles, particularly Bald Eagles. This is one of the reasons why birdwatchers from all over the world travel to this city situated along the Gulf Coast, in hopes that they’ll get a chance to catch a glimpse of these beautiful beings.
Fort Myers even has its very own Bald Eagle celebrities: Harriet and M15. Harriet, the matriarch, has been nesting in North Fort Myers since the 1990s. Over the years, Harriet has had dozens of fledglings.
You can even keep a close watch on Harriet and M15 via the Welaka Eagle Cam, which captures footage of the nest, which is located at the Welaka National Fish Hatchery. Watch live: www.soutwestfloridaeaglecam.com
Must See: ‘Completely gone’: Florida bald eagles rebuild nest following Hurricane Ian – KIRO 7
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