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Holiday Hatchlings: North Fort Myers pair welcomes two eaglets

January 3, 2018
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Harriet is again the mother of two eaglets.

The first egg - dubbed E10 - pipped in early Dec. 26 at about 8 a.m., with it being fully visible at 8:33 a.m. Twelve hours later, at 8:54 p.m., it hatched - 37 days after being laid.

The second egg -?E11 - pipped at about 3:21 p.m. Dec. 26 and hatched at 4:25 p.m. on Dec. 27, practically spot on the 35-day incubation period.

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E10 and E11 hatched last week at the North Fort Myers nest of Harriet and M15.

Andy Pritchett, operator of the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam, said it usually takes between 24 and 48 hours for the eaglets to hatch after pipping.

Pritchett said E10's hatching was the quickest he had seen.

"For it to pip in 12 hours, that was more accelerated than anyone expected. Things are picking up and people are excited because there's a bobblehead in the nest," he said.

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Ginnie Pritchett, of Pritchett Realty said, just like Christmas, it is the most wonderful time of the year, with the fact that the hatchings usually happen around that time making it sweeter.

"We're really excited. It's the pinnacle of the season for us because everyone is excited about the guys in the nest," she said. "People love to tune in and see it."

People began to head over to the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam website on Christmas Eve to view the progress of the hatchings as the due date came and went.

E10's pip finally came on Dec. 26. At 2 p.m., the eagle cam gave viewers a good look at the egg tooth and the tiny hole the eaglet produced. At 3:21 p.m., the camera gave a close-up view at the small crack on E11's shell before M15 went back to incubate the eggs.

Traffic on the website, which has been around 3,000 under normal circumstances, nearly quadrupled by mid-afternoon and was expected to climb much higher as the hatching approached.

Viewership held steady at about 10,000 on Dec. 28.

Last year as many as 75,000 viewers tuned in at once, thanks to coverage by national news outlets, Pritchett said.

Harriet laid her eggs on Nov. 19 and Nov. 22, respectively, both in the mid to late afternoon.

Harriet and M15 took turns incubating their young by maintaining the necessary 105 degrees temperature the embryos need.

With the eggs having hatched less than 20 hours apart - E10's hatching was a little overdue while E11's was on schedule - Pritchett said it will allow the siblings to be on an even playing field, which should help subside the sibling rivalry.

"Things should be tamer because if one eaglet is bigger than the other it can get pretty violent and it gets people upset," Pritchett said. "It's all part of the process of development.

In the past people have complained about seeing the violence and even death in the nest.

Ginnie Pritchett said even the disturbing parts of growing up are shown, so watch at your own leisure and risk.

Since its inception in September 2012, the SWFEC has received more than 115 million views from more than 190 different countries worldwide.

To watch the live feed from the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam, visit online at



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