After 16 million plus views and 6 months of live coverage, the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam has been damaged beyond repair by Thursday's storm.
Fortunately, the eagles were not harmed during the storm and while they do not stay in the nest 24/7 as they did when first born, the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam Team will not disturb their habitat to fix the camera, a release from the Pritchett family states.
The young eagles and parents are still in the area, using the nest as their home base as they teach/learn the fundamentals of survival, the release adds.
The following statement has been posted to the cam Facebook page:
"To our loyal viewers and followers- we are sadden(ed) to report the nest camera is damaged beyond our control to fix from afar and will not be coming back on for the remainder of the season. We believe the cam was hit late Thursday evening by lightning and we have not been able to recover connectivity since.
"Once the eagle family relocates for the summer months, we plan to safely fix the camera and prepare for a bigger and better season 2. You can still follow the developments of our beloved eagle family through the updates and photos brought to you here by the many amazing ground reporters and photographers. Will also plan to run past footage of the 2012-2013 season on the UStream page.
"Thank you all for your support and understanding- this has been an amazing debut season and we will continue to work on ways to improve and make this experience a better one for all.
"We are also in the final stages of creating the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam Foundation and currently accepting donations for the funding of future cam seasons. You can access that information here: www.southwestfloridaeaglecam.com/
"Thank you all for your support and coverage of this special project. What was once just an idea at the dinner table, became a reality shared by the whole world and we could not have gotten where we are without the support of our local media.
"Thank you again- we look forward to working with you on future seasons of the eagle cam.
"The Pritchett Family & Southwest Florida Eagle Cam Team"
Dick Pritchett Real Estate launched the observation camera that studies the eagles in their natural habitat on the company's property off Bayshore Road. The hope was that it would provide an educational experience and a learning tool. Now nearly eight months into existence, the camera has had dozens of schools utilize the cam in classroom lessons, introducing children to Ozzie and Harriet, who laid, hatched, and raised their young eaglets Hope and Honor in North Fort Myers.