Question from Gretchen Butler, Flagler County, Florida:
Can you tell me the percentage of abandonment by the resident eagles once a camera is installed?
Great question. The answer is not so easily determined or perhaps going to provide the info you wish because of the way you framed the question. I don't think cams are a potential problem -- cam installers can be.
1) I see "no evidence" of the existence of a cam per se in the nest as a detriment to the eagles.
2) I see 100% abandonment of all nests when a human has been seen in the nest by the eagle. In many of these cases the reason for the human in the nest was to place a cam, collect samples, band or rescue the young. To me the problem is that the eagle has seen someone in that "inviolate area" -- the eagle nest. If the human intrusion was before egg laying or during incubation the eagles simply did not return -- ever. The nest was immediately abandoned. Most have been seen re-nesting in the territory but in a different tree and nest. This is not acceptable when I have to guarantee to the property owners that our cams or their placements "won't disturb those particular eagles".