PORT ST. JOE, Fla. (WMBB) — Since 1782, the bald eagle has been known as the U.S. national emblem. The birds are no longer endangered but are still protected.
For Dottie Rogers, one of her favorite things to do at this point in her life is watching nature. From her deck, she gets a bird’s eye view. She whistles to catch the attention of two bald eagles.
“They live in the now, and they’re trying to survive,” Rogers said.
Rogers is not the only one that keeps a close eye on the the national birds. Valerie Clayton is an Audubon Eagle Watcher.
“I’m supposed to watch them twice a month, but I’m obsessed with them,” Clayton said.
Her passion for the birds started with watching eagle cams in 2016.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer so while I was doing chemotherapy, I watched webcams,” Clayton said.
With over 1,500 nesting pairs in the state of Florida, Clayton keeps an eye on nests in Gulf and Franklin County.
She gives statistics on the nests which helps the conservation of the eagles. After Hurricane Michael, several nests in the area were destroyed. She watched the protected birds begin rebuilding within two short weeks.
“Instead of moving on, they picked up the twigs that Michael had supplied for them, and they rebuild their nests,” said Clayton.
Devastation may surround them, but like many living in the area, it didn’t hold them back from rebuilding.
“It’s my spirit animal, freedom, all the good qualities we like to believe we have, they have it,” said Clayton.