‘Rita,’ star of Zoo Miami’s Eagle Cam, critically injured

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – One of the avian stars of Zoo Miami’s Eagle Cam was in critical condition Monday after she was found with a severely broken right wing.

Now, veterinarians are trying to get to the bottom of what happened to “Rita.”

Rita, along with her mate “Ron,” star on the live video feed of a South Florida nest. The Eagle Cam was installed as a collaborative effort between Wildlife Rescue of Dade County and the Ron Magill Conservation Endowment at the Zoo Miami Foundation.

Magill said Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission officers discovered the wounded Rita Sunday night and took her to the Wildlife Rescue, which then took her to Zoo Miami for further treatment.

“When the wound came in, it was badly bloodied all over the place, there were maggots growing in the wound, so there was time that had gone by,” he said.

Imagery confirmed a severe compound fracture of the right wing, Magill said. She wasn’t shot, as initially feared, but veterinarians are trying to determined what happened.

“Whatever it was, it was some type of very blunt trauma, like she may have hit something, maybe a power line, or something, or perhaps, even got into a fight with another eagle,” Magill said.

Magill said the next 24 to 48 hours will be critical for Rita’s survival, because she’s at “increased risk for overwhelming infection and other complications.”

There’s hope, Magill said, that Rita will keep her wing and will once again take to the skies.

“We’re told we shouldn’t get personally attached to these animals,” he said. “But, sometimes, you just can’t help it.”

About the Authors:

Layron Livingston made the move from Ohio's Miami Valley to Miami, Florida, to join the Local 10 News team.

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.