Some doubted a bald eagle pair would even take to the man-made nesting platform filmed by Zoo Miami’s “Eagle Cam,” much less produce offspring.
But somewhere in Miami-Dade County, the eagle dubbed Rita delivered an egg Wednesday night. The news was announced on Thanksgiving by Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill, who helped get the platform built.
“It is with great excitement that Zoo Miami, in collaboration with Wildlife Rescue of Dade County, announces that the pair of bald eagles that have been the subject of their “Eagle Cam” have produced an egg!!” Magill said in a press release. Magill serves as head of communications for the zoo, an arm of Miami-Dade County’s Parks Department.
The eagle pair — the mate’s name is Ron — have had a troubled history with nesting. The two originally were living in a nest they made where the platform exists now, and hatched two eaglets. That nest was destroyed in a storm, taking with it the two chicks. They fell 80 feet. One died; the other suffered a fractured wing and was rehabilitated by Wildlife Rescue.
Magill and Wildlife Rescue’s Lloyd Brown spearheaded creation of the platform, and set up the camera system to film the spot 24 hours a day. The camera comes from the rescue group, and the feed is available on Zoo Miami’s website.
On Thursday afternoon, no eagle was present shortly before 4 p.m., giving viewers a clear view of the egg. By 4:30 p.m., an eagle was back in place at the perch in an undisclosed location. There had been some alarming activity a few days ago, according to the release, when a rival female eagle briefly attempted to take over the nest before the original pair took back their territory.
Magill called the egg laying a milestone for a project that some thought wouldn’t attract eagles at all.
“Though many experts said that the eagles would not return due to the construction of the platform and installation of the cameras, they did indeed return and after some hesitation, began to rebuild their nest on the man-made platform,” Magill said in the release.
He added on his Instagram account: “Though there are a lot of things that can still go wrong ... we may be having eaglets between Christmas and New Year’s Day!!”