It is with great excitement that Zoo Miami, in collaboration with Wildlife Rescue of Dade County, announces that after an incubation period of 37 days, the wild pair of bald eagles, named “Rita” and “Ron,” have successfully hatched their first egg!!! What an amazing way to bring in the New Year!!!
For over two months, Rita and Ron have worked together to build a new nest on an artificial platform constructed through the combined efforts of Lloyd Brown from Wildlife Rescue of Dade County and Ron Magill from the Ron Magill Conservation Endowment at the Zoo Miami Foundation. The platform was constructed to provide a more stable foundation after the pair had their original nest at that location destroyed during a storm.
In addition to the platform, the team also installed state-of-the-art high definition cameras that would allow the activity at the nest platform to be viewed online 24 hours a day. The cameras have provided fascinating intimate views into the wonderful behaviors of these majestic raptors.
On November 24th, the day before Thanksgiving, Rita laid her first egg. On November 27th, she laid her second egg. And then, though bald eagles usually only produce two eggs a year, Rita surprised officials when on December 1st, she laid a third egg!!
Having this first egg hatch is extremely exciting for everyone who has invested so much time and effort to provide these eagles with a safe and stable nesting area for all the world to see and appreciate without being intrusive. A second chick has appeared to have pipped its egg and with hopefully be hatching in the next 24-36 hours!
With that said, there are still many things that could go wrong. In fact, should all three eggs hatch, the odds are highly against all three chicks surviving. It is very likely that the first chicks to hatch will use their advantage of being older and therefore stronger, to bully the last chick to hatch by not only outcompeting it for food, but also aggressively attacking it to eliminate competition for that food. Whatever happens, the team must let nature take its course and will not interfere with any natural process. However, they hope that the unique opportunity provided by the work of Wildlife Rescue of Dade County and the Ron Magill Conservation Endowment will help connect people to nature in a meaningful and memorable way.