Male Bald Eagle That Tries To Hatch A Rock Is Given An Eaglet To Raise

A male bald eagle that is a permanent resident at a bird sanctuary in Missouri has become a foster dad and couldn’t be happier.

Murphy has injuries that prevent him from being released back into the wild. But that hasn’t dampened his parenting instincts.

Last month, a caretaker at World Bird Sanctuary (WBS) noticed Murphy was guarding a large depression in the ground. There were leaves and branches collected in the area and a rock in the middle.

Murphy had created a nest and was sitting on the rock like it was an egg. Every day, caretaker Kerstin saw him diligently sitting on the rock. In the wild, male bald eagles take equal part in raising their babies with the female.

World Bird Sanctuary

Murphy shares an enclosure with four other bald eagles, two males and two females. But he was not interested in sharing parenting duties with any of his friends.

“Every so often he rearranges the sticks in his nest, and cackles at any other eagles that come too close. We wish Murphy all the luck in the world, but we’re not telling him the reality of the situation,” the nonprofit joked on Facebook. “We have yet to see a rock hatch!”

But then an opportunity presented itself to put Murphy’s fathering duties to a real test.

Very high winds blew an eagle nest containing two chicks out of a tree near Ste. Genevieve, Missouri a few days ago. One chick died and the other was brought to World Bird Sanctuary’s Wildlife Hospital.

The staff decided to give Murphy a chance at fostering a real baby. But other than “BabyRock,” Murphy had never raised a real eaglet.

But the staff took a chance to see how the 31-year-old eagle would respond.

WBS wrote, “Bald Eaglet 23-126 was let out of the baby jail for a full introduction to Murphy yesterday and so far things are going very well! A staff member watched initial interactions through a peep hole to make sure the eaglet was safe. It took Murphy an hour before he approached 23-126 and examined with curiosity.”

“Murphy didn’t get much of a chance to feed 23-126 as they had already stuffed themselves full with the entire pile of chopped food that had been dropped for them,” the caretakers noted of their first introduction.

The next morning, however, Murphy “got his chance to be a full parent after the eaglet left the nest to be closer to Murphy. Shortly after, the caretakers were thrilled to discover Murphy fed the baby and continues to do so!

World Bird Sanctuary

“From this point on, we will be as hands off as possible to allow maximum bonding between Murphy and 23-126 and as natural of an upbringing as can be managed in a rehabilitation setting,” the group explained.

Baby Eaglet won’t be named but there’s a reason for that. World Bird Sanctuary explained, “We do not name our wildlife for superstitious reasons! The rehab superstition is that named patients are cursed and either end up dying or being non-releasable.”

And although it’s not feasible for the sanctuary to livestream (as they are in the middle of the woods), they shared this adorable video and plan on keeping Murphy’s new fans updated on how he and his new baby are doing.

If you would like to help feed Murphy and Baby Eaglet (who is “going to eat us out of House and Home), consider donating to the World Bird Sanctuary. WBS said, “All the funds made on this fundraiser will go right into that blurry beak, and the one feeding it! We have many weeks ahead of us and that beak will want more and more!!”

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