Stay in the know about wildlife, water quality, and ecosystems on Sanibel and Captiva Islands and in Southwest Florida

13 Bald Eagle Chicks Fledge on Islands

April 29, 2024
bald eagle adult and fledgling in nest

Image by Cheri Hollis

Thirteen bald eagle chicks (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) fledged from the 11 bald eagle nests SCCF monitored this year on Sanibel, Captiva, North Captiva, and just off-island, surpassing last year’s total of 9 chicks from 10 nests.

With the help of partners and volunteers, SCCF monitors bald eagle nests on the islands during the nesting season (Oct. 1 to May 15) and reports data to the Audubon Society’s EagleWatch program.

image of bald eagle fledgling on tree limb
Bald eagle fledgling / Cheri Hollis

“One of the more surprising turn of events was two chicks fledging from Sanibel’s well-known Dairy Queen nest,” said SCCF Shorebird Biologist Audrey Albrecht.

The ‘Dairy Queen nest’ — located near the island’s now-closed Dairy Queen — was unproductive for many years until finally fledging a chick in the 2021-22 nesting season prior to Hurricane Ian, Albrecht said. The female went missing before the September 2022 storm, and the male found a new mate, which was a younger female still bearing brown feathers on her head.

Eaglets from the Dairy Queen nest / Gary Biltgen

“In the 2022-23 season, the pair worked hard on rebuilding the nest but ultimately did not produce any young,” she said. “Things changed this year when they hatched and fledged two eaglets, surprising everyone.”

Bald eagles are protected by both state and federal laws, including the Florida Eagle Rule, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

Rodenticide poses a large threat to bald eagles and other raptors and wildlife. Learn how you can avoid rodenticide use by following these wildlife-safe alternative practices >>

SCCF encourages these alternatives so poison doesn’t get in the food web and kill animals that feed on rats and mice such as eagles, barn owls, hawks, and bobcats.

“SCCF is very grateful for all of the dedicated volunteers who monitor the nests, and our partners at Audubon Florida for managing the Eagle Watch Database,” Albrecht said.

If you have any questions regarding eagles or want to share your eagle observations or photos, please email


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