Eaglet E9 falls from tree, flies for first time

Eaglet E9 perched on a branch the day before fledging.
Eaglet E9 perched on a branch the day before fledging.

FORT MYERS, Fla. (WFLA) – Eaglet E9 has left the nest!

The 10-week-old South Florida eaglet, whose hatching was live streamed and seen by people around the world, accidentally fledged on Tuesday morning and is now exploring the world outside his/her nest in Fort Myers.

The eaglet had the accidental fledge at 7:22 a.m. on Tuesday. E9 slipped while wingersizing near the nest, then when trying to get back to the nest, the eaglet wound up flying to the ground in a nearby pasture.

E9 then began taking short flights along the ground, according to a moderator on the Dick Pritchett Southwest Florida Eagle Cam website.

If you have not heard of these eagle terms before, this will help-

  • “Fledge” is when a young bird takes its first flight from the nest. You could think of it as the bird equivalent of a milestone like when a child takes his or her first steps.
  • An “accidental fledge” is a term used to describe when a bird makes its first flight after falling.
  • “Wingersizing” is a word used to describe how an eaglet learns to use its wings to fly by flapping and hopping.

Many people were watching the live stream when E9 fledged.

“It looked to me that he was on a branch and when he went to the nest he landed on the rim of the nest and it didn’t hold him,  so he dropped down a branch.  He just couldn’t recover and dropped down further with his wings a flapping!” said Jackie Gienapp, who was watching the drama unfold on the live stream.

E9’s fall scared some die-hard fans.

“Congats E9. My heart skipped beat, thought he was hurt,” said Weezy 58 who watches E9 on the live stream.

“I’m so emotional right now.  Can’ t believe I’ve gotten so attached to this family,” said Jarvette Glass.

As of 11:20 a.m. on Tuesday, E9 was believed to be perched in a tree near the nest. Mother Harriet was in the nest eating fish. Both Harriet and M15 are keeping a close watch on their fledgling.

“When they end up on the ground, it is pretty common to see them wander around a bit before deciding to fly up to a branch on a tree. I think right now E9 is perching in one of the trees in the west pasture,” said a moderator in the chat room on the Dick Pritchett Southwest Florida Eagle Cam website.

Eaglet E9 became an internet sensation even before he/she hatched.  People became addicted to watching a live stream of  American Bald Eagle Harriet and her mate M15 as they took turns incubating two eggs in their 6-foot-wide nest, located 60-feet up a slash pine.

The nest is near Dick Pritchett Real Estate in Fort Myers. The real estate company has been providing a live look at the Harriet’s nest for four years now.

See photos of E9 growing up and read more about E9, mom Harriet, and father M15.

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