Approximately 20% of the nests monitored by EagleWatch occur on man-made structures, such as cell towers or power line transmission towers. EagleWatch seeks to understand how nest substrate may impact nesting success and nest site choice through analysis of monitoring data and the Auxiliary Banding Study.
The Auxiliary Banding Study will determine if the type of nest in which an eaglet hatches influences future nest choice. If yes, Florida has the potential to see an exponential increase in eagles nesting on these types of structures over time. Agencies and stakeholder organizations should work together to implement management strategies that help Bald Eagles nest more successfully on these structures.
Through a partnership with the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, The Raptor Trauma Clinic outfits all juvenile eagles they treat with an easy-to-read, unique alphanumeric code before release. The color of the band is related to the type of nest the chick came from: green bands for chicks from natural nests and black bands for chicks from nests on artificial structures.
This season, staff banded and released eight eaglets from five counties. Six of the fledgling eagles came from natural nests and two came from nests on artificial structures. Since inception in 2017, the study has banded and released 48 juvenile eagles.
In March 2020, a park biologist at Honeymoon Island in Dunedin, FL sent a photograph to EagleWatch of a juvenile Bald Eagle with one of our black auxiliary bands 04/A, that was perched near an inactive nest. This female was originally rescued from the base of her cell tower nest in Manatee County with a broken leg in 2017 and was released later that year after a lengthy recovery. We were thrilled to see her again and know that she had survived three years in the wild! Another juvenile eagle that was released in Kenansville, FL in March 2020 was reported by a park biologist at Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina 20 days later. Two additional fledglings released in April 2020 were spotted around their release locations over the following weeks.