Bald eagles are generally known for their prowess as predators, not their loving nature. But in Sidney, BC, one family of birds is breaking down stereotypes.
Documented by the Hancock Wildlife Foundation, this unlikely eagle foster family has been seen feeding and caring for a red-tailed hawk chick.
Though such generosity is not unheard of, it’s all the more amazing considering bald eagles’ usual aggressive behavior.
From Competitors to Nest Mates
Bald eagles and red-tailed hawk chicks are natural rivals. They compete for prey and occasionally fight and kill each other. Then again, this isn’t the first time a family and a chick have found common ground.
“We have a record of this at one of the Tsawwassen Buff nests about 10 years ago,” David Hancock wrote on the Foundation’s website. ” It was believed that [a] dead or dying red-tail laid [an] egg that in turn was incubated by the eagles, along with their own two eggs.”
But the future of this young hawk is still in doubt. Birds don’t make the same emotional attachments as humans. So, if the hawk’s adopted siblings feel especially peckish, they’re liable to make dinner out of their red-tailed nestmate. However, if the hawk can make it through the next few weeks and learn to fly without too much trouble, this unique story could still have a happy ending.
Watch the family below (the hawk is the light gray chick):