Apparent lightning storm strikes down popular tree at Orlando's Greenwood Cemetery

Eagles, owls nested in tree for years

ORLANDO, Fla. – An apparent lightning strike Wednesday took down a tree at Greenwood Cemetery, where bald eagles and great horned owls had previously lived. 

"For about the past 25 years, we've had a mating set of bald eagles," Greenwood Cemetery Sexton Don Price said. "It brings people to the cemetery who normally wouldn't come to the cemetery." 

This is not the first time the nest will need to be rebuilt. Hurricane Irma, as well as Hurricane Matthew, had previously knocked the nest out of the tree. 

"We had photographers and people come out just to watch these eagles rebuild their nest," Price said. "And then once they rebuilt the nest, a set of great horned owls came in and evicted them from their nest. 

Jerry Miller watched the nest often, since his wife, Laura, is buried right next to it. 

"It's a nice place to be when there's wildlife around," Miller said. "You normally don't think of life when you come to a cemetery." 

Twigs and branches from the nest sit scattered across, as cemetery officials wait for tree service crews to come and remove the remains of the tree. 

"Of course, we'll take this tree down," Price said. "We're hoping that in September, we'll get [the bald eagles and great horned owls] back, because this is their home and they will rebuild again." 
There was no wildlife nested in the tree when it came crashing down Wednesday night. The horned owls had already left the nest earlier in the year. Cemetery officials say surprisingly, no tombstones were damaged when the tree fell. 

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