NEWS FROM THE NEST – November 2019

It is bald eagle nesting season and visitors are frequently seen at the Nature Preserve looking confused and asking, “Where are Calusa and Herb?  Are they nesting?  Did they abandon their nest and fly away?”  The answer is… Mother Nature had a different plan for the eagle’s nest this year. 

At this point in time, the eagles would normally be sitting on eggs in their nest, producing eaglets by March.    This past September however, a pair of great horned owls beat the eagles to the nest and took up residency.  Calusa and Herb have been seen flying in and out of the Preserve, roosting in other trees , and watching the strangers squatting in their nest.

The great horned owls do not make their own nests but commonly adopt nests of other large birds.  They are the earliest nesting birds in North America and are a protected species under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  Their hunting activity takes place from dusk to midnight, then again from 4 AM to sunrise.   Their clutch size varies from one to four eggs, the incubation period is 30 to 37 days, and the nesting period is 42 days.  The average size of an adult great horned owl is 22” with a wingspan of 3’ to 5 ‘.  The females are usually larger than the males.  With their fiercely powerful talons, the great horned owls fight off predators and can crush their prey to make if more compact for carrying. 

If the great horned owls produce a successful clutch, it is most unlikely that Calusa and Herb will be using their nest this season.  A few years ago, the eagle pair at the Island Country Club Golf Course lost their nest to a pair of great horned owls but the eagles regained that nest the following year.  We look forward to the eagles visiting the Nature Preserve over the late spring and summer months as they have for many years, and to their return to the nest in the fall of 2020. 

The Nature Preserve is a bird sanctuary with  20 plus bird species on the property.  Viewing telescopes for adults and children are onsite so residents and visitors can enjoy viewing bird activity.  The eagle cam will be kept live so that great horned owl nesting activity can be viewed on the Nature Preserve’s website. 

Walking paths for a nature trail will be established in the Nature Preserve during the summer months. Of 2020   Commemorative pavers have been installed along the front of the preserve in honor of local residents and visitors.  Plans are in progress to build a gazebo that will serve as am outdoor classroom for our educational outreach program and as a  shelter. 

The Marco Island Nature Preserve is a 50l (c) (3), non-profit, 100% volunteer organization.  Additional information regarding the Preserve, eagle cam, commemorative paver project, or donations may be obtained by visiting the website at 

The public is welcome to visit the Nature Preserve at 665 Tigertail Court on Marco Island, Florida. 

Linda J. Turner
Director of Community Relations

About the Eagle Camera

One of the objectives for Marco Island Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary is to educate the importance of preserving our island’s green space and protecting its wildlife. Broadcasting our eagle’s activity through this online eagle camera will make it easy for our school age children and eagle lovers everywhere to view these magnificent birds from anywhere in the world. We have all heard the adage, “a picture says a thousand words,” imagine how many words this eagle cam will say!

This camera is an important part of our overall educational commitment to our school age Marco citizens. Without your continued support by donating to the camera fund we would not be able to continue this valuable resource, so please make your donation today. We are very happy to have our camera up and running and look forward too many hours of watching our eagles as they return each nesting season.

Sad News

We are saddened to share the following news with all of you.  Last evening, we lost one of the eagles that makes the Marco Island Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary home.  We are working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and will continue to update you all as we receive more information.

Matching Donation Opportunity for Eagle Cam Project

Matching Donation Opportunity for Eagle Cam Project

Our eagle cam fundraising project has just received a matching gift opportunity from David Gardner in memory of his late wife Anne in the form of a dollar-for-dollar match of all donations up to $25,000. This means your contribution of $50 will be matched with an additional $50, thus making a total $100 contribution available. With your help this matching gift will make the eagle cam a reality at the Marco Island Nature Preserve before the next nesting season. So please donate NOW!

Don’t wait, make your donation today and help us reach our goal of installing the eagle cam this summer. To donate go to  and pay by credit card or PayPal, or mail your donation to:

Marco Island Nature Preserve
PO Box 983
Marco Island, FL 34146

This program is in affect for the next 30 days so show your support with your donation, no donation is too small.

News From The Nest – April 2017

The eaglets have landed!

Finally! The Marco Island Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary have two eaglets in the nest.

Last week, through a high-powered lens, two small, fuzzy, eaglet heads were seen reaching up for food being delivered into the nest by the adult eagles.

One eaglet appears considerably larger than the other, an indication that the two eggs hatched a few days apart. The adult male eagle, Paleo, is busy all day fishing and flying his catch back to the nest. Calusa, the adult female, is busy in the nest keeping the eaglets warm and protected from crows and hawks, and feeding fish to her eaglets that she has shredded for easier consumption.

Eaglets grow at a very rapid pace reaching adult size by 12 weeks. They will fledge from the nest between 10 to 12 weeks, but return to their nest to roost and be fed for a few more weeks. Throughout each day, people are seen at the Preserve with their binoculars and long lens cameras attempting to get a closer look at the eagle family activities. There has been considerable interest and numerous requests for eagle cams to provide close up viewing of the eagles at the Preserve.

Marco Island Needs Eagle Cams

One of the objectives for Marco Island Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary is to educate the importance of preserving our island’s green space and protecting its’ wildlife. Broadcasting our eagles activity through an online eagle cam will make it easy for our school age children and eagle lovers everywhere to view these magnificent birds from anywhere in the world. We have all heard the adage, “a picture says a thousand words”. Imagine how many words an eagle cam would say!

The Marco Eagle Sanctuary Foundation (MESF) is the parent organization for the Preserve project located at 665 Tigertail Court. The Foundation is currently fundraising for eagle cam system to be installed on the Preserve by September of 2017, before the next bald eagle nesting season in October. Required for this costly project are two high tech pan and zoom cameras that can withstand water, salt, wind and dust, a computer and software for transmission, waterproof computer housing, crane installation, electrical, internet and broadband connections.

Paleo and Calusa our current resident eagles were named by the Tommie Barfield Elementary 2011 fifth grade class. There have been eagles residing on the preserve property since the 1970’s, most likely Paleo or Calusa’s are relatives of those since offspring’s always come back to the nest where they were born to start their families if the nest is available. The bald eagle, a state and federally protected species, holds a special status of prominence as America’s symbol of freedom and strength. The bald eagle also holds symbolic significance on Marco Island as well since the City of Marco Island’s Logo contains an Eagle, and the mascot for the Marco Island Charter Middle School is an Eagle. The Marco Island Nature Preserve and Bird Sanctuary

Marco Eagle Sanctuary Foundation’s plan for the Nature Preserve project is to preserve and protect the site for generations to come. The preservation will include additional native trees and plants to draw new bird species, butterflies, and wildlife. Walking paths will be installed for bird watchers to enjoy, and a small learning center. The walking paths will be used for bird watching and guided tours when the eagles are not nesting. The learning center will provide interactive video stations for visitors to learn more about the eagles as well as the ECO system that makes up the Nature Preserve, and a controlled entrance onto and exit from the Preserve walking paths. The learning center will be located at the Preserve’s southern corner, 330 feet from the nesting tree compliant with state and federal restriction on construction activity around an eagles nest. Collaborating with Marco Eagle Sanctuary Foundation on the Nature Preserve project are FGCU, the Naples Botanical Garden, Rookery Bay National Marine Reserve, Defenders of Wildlife (Southwest Florida), Florida Native Plant Society (Naples Chapter), Keep Collier Beautiful, and the Collier County Public Schools Department of Science and Environment to name a few.

To Donate For Eagle Cams

Let’s keep an eagle eye on our bald eagles, Paleo and Calusa. If you would like to be able to follow our eagles activity and nesting process online please donate to our eagle cam project.

To donate by credit card, please visit either of our two websites: or,

Click on “Eagle Cam Fundraising” Button

To donate by check, indicate your donation is for the eagle cams and mail to
Marco Island Nature Preserve & Bird Sanctuary
P.O. Box 983
Marco Island, Florida, 34146.

The Marco Eagle Sanctuary Foundation is a 501 (c) (3), federally registered, 100%volunteer organization. For additional information call 239 269-1754.