SANIBEL, Fla.- The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) says Southwest Florida’s famous bald eagle Ozzie has passed away.
Ozzie was suffering complications from his recent injuries including multiple lacerations and a broken toe in each foot.
The bald eagle was taken to CROW for a second time this year on Sunday after he was found weak and injured in a North Fort Myers backyard. Veterinarians say Ozzie arrived in critical condition, unable to stand and fighting a bacterial blood infection.
“There is emotion,” said Linda Bruce, an Ozzie fan. “We have a parrots and we understand what can happen to birds.”
Ozzie’s injuries were most likely from a fight with another bald eagle near the nest that was documented on the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam Facebook page. Some witnesses say he was also entangled in barbwire.
“Ever since Ozzie got hurt and was away for three months, obviously, Harriet was still in the area,” said Andy Pritchett who is with the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam Foundation, “and with Ozzie being gone, new males could sense that, and (they) started to show love and obviously Harriet picked FV or M15 to get a little closer.”
Harriet’s new suitor, initially named Frequent Visitor (FV) or Male 2015 (M15), and now known as Pretty Boy, wasn’t a fan of Ozzie. Ozzie suffered his fatal injuries after the two quarreled for Harriet’s affection; or at least that’s what veterinarians and Ozzie fans suspect.
A necropsy will be performed on Ozzie at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) at The University of Georgia.
Those who beloved the bird even came out with flowers to say their final goodbyes. The hope of a new love, however, means this story might have a new beginning.
“I hope that Harriet just hooks up with this guy and they have a good time,” Linda Bruce said, “the love story continues, yes, that’s what I hope.”
Ozzie’s body will go to the National Eagle Repository where all deceased bald and golden eagles go before they are shipped to Native American tribes for religious ceremonies.
Those who operate the eagle camera say it will be up and running Thursday.