Jane Lyons, a longtime Sarasota resident who is always in search of the perfect photograph, was delighted to discover a bald eagle nest in early April while taking her usual stroll along Lido Beach. Photographing the raptor family—mom, dad and chick—soon became an exciting ritual for Lyons as she frequented the aerie over a span of six weeks. She says she watched the eaglet grow from a tiny, downy “muppet-looking” baby to a rather large adolescent making cute and clumsy attempts at flight. Lyons also observed the mated pair bringing the chick everything from squirrels to fish.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, official bald eagle nesting season in Florida lasts from Oct. 1 to May 15. The eaglet photographed by Lyons was born on the later side of the breeding season, but other Lido residents have told Lyons that the nest itself has existed for nearly five years.
Despite their noble appearance and privileged national animal status, bald eagles are not the friendliest of birds, as they are known to raid other bird nests for food. But as Lyons observed, they make excellent parents. The chick remains alone in the nest at times, but the parents are never far, always watching and protecting. “It’s an incredible experience for me,” says Lyons. Her only complaint is a sore neck from looking up at the nest (which is approximately 60-80 feet above the ground), but the experience has stoked her passion for nature and photography.
To view more of Jane Lyons' photos, you can visit her website here.