© 2024 254 North Front Street, Suite 300, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 910.343.1640
News Classical 91.3 Wilmington 92.7 Wilmington 96.7 Southport
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

CoastLine: Searching For The Next Harpy Eagle Nest In Belize Using Drones

Jamie Rotenberg

It was an expedition into the Mayan Mountains in 2005 which led Jamie Rotenberg to the Bladen Nature Reserve in Belize where he spotted a juvenile harpy eagle.  More than five years later, he discovered a harpy eagle nest – creatures once thought to be extinct. 

The harpy eagle is the largest raptor in the Americas and it’s still considered an extremely endangered species.  The search continues to find the next set of nests. And Jamie Rotenberg, an environmental ecologist and ornithologist who specializes in tropical ecology, says he doesn’t want to wait another five years to make that discovery. We find out how he plans to expedite the process.

On this edition of CoastLine, we also explore why finding the nests is so challenging, what other factors are affecting the harpy eagle population, and what that tells us about the state of the ecosystem.


Jamie Rotenberg is an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in the Department of Environmental Sciences.  In addition to his work on harpy eagles, he’s studied populations of eastern Painted Buntings in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida.

Griffin Bryn is a Senior at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in the Department of Environmental Sciences. He’s working with Professor Rotenberg on data analysis from drones in search of those elusive harpy eagle nests.


Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education

Conservation Documentary featuring Jamie Rotenberg and his work:

Wings of Hope

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 4 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.
Rachel is a graduate of UNCW's Master of Public Administration program, specializing in Urban and Regional Policy and Planning. She also received a Master of Education and two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and French Language & Literature from NC State University. She served as WHQR's News Fellow from 2017-2019. Contact her by email: rkeith@whqr.org or on Twitter @RachelKWHQR