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These eagles are named "Ron" and "Rita" after Ron Magill and his lovely wife, Rita. Ron Magill is the Communications Director for Zoo Miami and this LIVE Cam is funded through his Conservation Endowment. You can tell the eagles apart by looking at their legs and comparing their size. Rita is larger than Ron and has a silver federal band on her right leg and a green over black band on her left leg. Ron doesn't have any bands.
On March 13, 2021, Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill joined Wildlife Rescue of Dade County’s Lloyd Brown, and Jemma Peterson to rescue a bald eagle chick that had fallen out of a nest which had been destroyed by a storm. After surgery to repair a broken wing and months of rehabilitation, the eaglet was successfully released back to the wild on August 21, 2021. The parents of this eaglet have been a bonded pair for several years. Unfortunately, they have had very limited success in raising chicks due in part to the instability of the nest site that they kept returning to year after year.
Believing that the bonded pair would once again return to the same tree, Ron and the Ron Magill Conservation Endowment, teamed up with Lloyd and Wildlife Rescue of Dade County to construct a stable platform in the nest tree close to the original location of the nest that was destroyed. The hope was that the adult birds would return to the tree and utilize the newly constructed platform to rebuild the nest that was destroyed by the storm. Thousands of dollars were also invested to install a high-definition camera system that would allow any activity at the platform to be live-streamed online. This was a huge gamble because there was no guarantee that the adult pair would return to the tree, and if they did, that they would choose to build their nest on the platform. In fact, there was genuine concern that the newly installed platform would frighten them away from the tree completely.
Fortunately, the pair did return, and for several days, looked at the installed platform from adjacent branches but would not fly to it. Then, one day, they flew onto the platform and after inspecting it closely, were observed flying in with large branches as well as other types of vegetation to begin rebuilding their nest!! At first, they would be seen bringing in new materials with no apparent predictability, sometimes not returning to the nest for days at a time. Recently, the time spent at the nest is becoming more regular with both adult birds seen on the nest either by themselves or together, usually in the morning, almost on a daily basis. After constructing a beautiful nest, the eagle pair, named “Rita” and “Ron,” spent much more time at the site, mostly during the day. Then, on Thanksgiving eve, Rita was seen on the nest at night for the first time. It was that evening that she laid her first egg! Three days later, on the following Saturday evening, she laid her second egg! And then, to our surprise, four days after she laid her second egg, she laid a third! Both eagles can now be seen on a regular basis sharing the duties of incubating those eggs 24 hours a day. With an incubation of between 33-36 days, if everything goes well, the first chick is expected to pip right around New Year’s Day!
These are wild eagles that have built a nest in an undisclosed location in the wild. Knowing this, we must understand that nature can often be cruel. We want to warn viewers that we will have no influence on the behaviors of these birds and there are many things that can go wrong. The adults may for unknown reasons, abandon the nest. They may lay eggs that never hatch or get predated on. If eggs do hatch, the hatchlings may not survive. The parents may bring back prey that viewers find disturbing and the feeding of that prey to the eaglets can be quite graphic. The fact is the bald eagles only have an approximately 50% success rate in fledging chicks so there are still many challenges ahead.