Now that eagle sightings may be winding down, I would like to encourage eagle-watchers to keep the FORUM alive by continuing to post information and share ideas and questions, especially about the plans for the Pembroke Pines eagle sanctuary and eagle protection ordinance. In addition, I have always found it interesting to hear eagle-watchers' reports and photos of other wildlife sightings in and near the "eagle forest."
All too often, wildlife conservation focuses on the welfare of certain threatened and endangered species, while neglecting the whole web of life that sustains them. Creatures at the bottom of the food chain are vitally important to those at the top. "Our" eagles appear to forage for fish, reptiles and amphibians, birds and small mammals, over a territory that stretches out in a radius of several miles. Because of development and other disturbances, that territory contains many "barren" patches. The City of Pembroke Pines preserves (particularly Chapel Trail Nature Center, soon to be expanded to fill the entire eastern corner of Sheridan St. & 196th Avenue, and the new West Pines Soccer Center and Wildlife Preserve at 196th and Pines), the lakes, canals and mitigation wetlands, or "Environmentally Sensitive Areas" set aside by builders, the Stormwater Treatment Areas managed by the SW Florida Water Management District, and even the several landfills within a mile of the nest, all provide essential hunting grounds for eagles and other predators.
I suggest that we try to document the biologic diversity of the habitat that was chosen by this pair of eagles, by continuing to post records and photos of other wildlife sightings within a couple of miles of the nest. To the extent that we demonstrate the diversity of wildlife that exists within (and in spite of) all the human disturbances, we are sending a message to our municipal leaders that their efforts to preserve natural habitat are bearing fruit and are to be encouraged.
How do you all feel about this? Of course, when the resident eagles return in October to check out the nest, and as they refurbish it in preparation for egg-laying in December, we will naturally re-focus our attention on the reason why we all got so involved in this project.
This leads me to another idea. I want to give some thought to describing how this singular event has made changes in my own appreciation, not only of the eagles, but of the wonders of the natural world and its importance to all of us. Maybe I will ask for a "Roll Call" so that everyone who has been involved, even casually or as a "lurker" on this FORUM, might (anonymously, if desired) express such thoughts and feelings. We might be described as a rag-tag, ad-hoc assemblage of people of all ages and walks of life, but we have joined in a cooperative effort and are seeing positive results. Ideas?
Oh, and Nabble requires the FORUM to remain active, or it may remove support for it. (Their criteria are quite liberal-- I think they require at least one post every month or so, and they said they would notify me before they terminate it for inactivity).
I was very happy to read your post, Ken. Just yesterday I posted about how my observations have changed with the departures of the eagles in a response to Lisa's inquiry about Sunday nest watching. I wasn't sure if it would be appreciated on this site if we talked about subjects other than bald eagles.....but your post makes a perfect statement about why we should continue to study and explore their habitat while the eagles are away.
I have found myself taking pictures of grasshoppers, marsh rabbits and lots of other residents of the surrounding nest areas. The other day with Tom and Umberto, I drew the line at snakes...but if it's for the benefit of the eagles, I'll even attempt to get over my snake issues.
Having watched the eagles for so long I miss the close study of their appearances and behaviors, always looking for any tiny development or change from one day to the next. I am very excited to realize the need for us to continue learning about and documenting the diversity of the area chosen by the bald eagle pair to raise their young.
I was also thinking about once/month arranging a field trip on Saturdays to various local birding places - i.e. green Cay and Wakodatchee, one of the STA's, etc.. for whoever wodul like to go - we can meet and car pool- it's much mroe fun to do these things together with other pepople-
Ken- we can try to coordinate suc a thing when you are back in town int he summer- if you let us know when you are back-
I'll be interested in continuing with the forum. It has done so much for so many people. I love the pictures and the info people have shared. Now with our family pretty much absent, I look back and read previous posts and look and all the wonderful photos of them to get my eagle fix. Keeping track of other creatures in the area sounds like a logical plan; especially if it helps to determine why they chose this spot to begin with.
I definitely would like to see the Forum stay alive. We have formed such a nice, warm group of people with various common interests, one of which is the welfare of "our" eagle family.
I was in Florida only a few days during the month of May. Just returned from an educational/enrichment cruise with visits to many of the countries of Central America (some great bird watching there!). While I was gone, whenever I could get my hands on a computer, I checked out the wonderful posts at Nabble to see what was going on.
Thank you, posters! You saved me from suffering severe withdrawal pains.