Many mourn after North Fort Myers eaglet E-14 passes away

Published: January 14, 2020 8:49 PM EST
Updated: January 19, 2020 7:09 PM EST

Flowers for a little bird gone too soon. One heartbreaking picture says it all: Harriet the eagle nuzzling close to her baby’s limp body. E-14 died Wednesday morning.

Fans of Southwest Florida’s celebrity eagles flocked to North Fort Myers to offer Harriet best wishes.

A tribute is growing just across from Harriet’s nest high up in the tree, one saying “Rest In Peace, E-14.”

Tribute with flowers and sentiments for E-14. (WINK News)

People we spoke to say they’re heartbroken. But even in times of sadness, they continue to visit the nest.

Eagle lovers like Marti Lord came to check on mom Harriet after eaglet E-14’s passing.

“They get into your heart. They really get into your heart and we love them,” she said.

Some have even left flowers and thoughtful sentiments.

As people mourn, they also hope for answers. That’s why the CROW Clinic gathered E-14’s remains from the nest.

Eagle fan Marie Chism and others believe a fish hook was to blame for the eaglet’s injury.

“Consensus says that it is a fish hook, which we need to, as humans, be a little more aware of what’s going on and try to protect our planet and our wildlife,” Chism said.

However, in a statement Wednesday afternoon, CROW said a radiograph taken of the body did not reveal any foreign objects, like a fishing hook, nor did they find anything of the sort in the nest.

A brief examination performed by veterinary staff noted the entire left side to be covered in blood, which appears to have come from a broken blood feather on the left wing. No other traumatic wounds were found to have occurred prior to the eaglet’s passing.

E-14’s remains have been sent to the Southeast Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) at the University of Georgia for further evaluation and testing, including testing for rodenticides that may have contributed to the eaglet’s death.

As we wait for a confirmed cause of death, Lord looks ahead to the future: “I just hope they come back and have more babies.”

Harriet laid a second egg in November, but it never hatched. CROW examined the unhatched egg and determined that it was fertilized and had developed partially, but they were unable to determine why it did not hatch.