(WSVN) - Wildlife officials in Southwest Florida are worried a beloved eagle may be at risk.
The bird mysteriously flew away from its nest, leaving its babies behind.
Cameras rolled as a male eagle named M-15 locked his talons with another bird near their Fort Myers nest.
Beth Lott, a raptor specialist with the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, said it is customary for eagles to do this when they are either mating or fighting, and since M-15 already has a mate, it is likely he was defending his territory.
“It’s not living as we do. It’s surviving, which is a lot harder,” said Lott, “so yes, they’re constantly fending off predators that would feed on their babies and themselves.”
M-15’s mate, Harriet, has not been seen since Thursday afternoon and, Lott said, with two babies that are not even a month old yet, that is a concern.
“We get a lot of territory attacks in with eagles, what this sounds like it possibly could be,” she said. “Another eagle came into their territory, and they got into a fight, and maybe Harriet possibly didn’t come out good on that end of it, and they really go after each other. It’s not just to hurt them, it’s to- they’ll go and kill them.”
It’s not clear where Harriet is.
Karen Devens, an eagle photographer, said she has seen M-15 protecting the eaglets from other intruding eagles.
“We have seen three. Yes, that is correct,” she said. “One that looks to be a full adult with a white head and a white tail, and two sub-adults that are still very dark and have dark beaks, and they don’t have white feathers on their head. They’re not mature.”
Devens said she loves coming to observe the eagles and has seen M-15 lock talons with the other eagles multiple times.
“He will eventually have to leave to get food for himself and the babies,” said Devens, “and that’s when they’re going to be at their most vulnerable.”
Experts said it is uncommon for one eagle parent to be gone for a long period of time.
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