Eagle Decides He Wants the Hawk for a Sibling, Rather than a Meal

Is it dinner or is it family?

A camera pointed at a bald eagle’s nest caught a remarkable display of behavior recently when a mother eagle stole a baby hawk and presented it to her eaglet for dinner.

However the eaglet never shows any interest in eating hawk, and 32 hours later, the orphan was sheltering from the rain under mother eagle’s wings.

The Eagle Nest Project at the Gabriola Rescue of Wildlife Society, or “GROWLS,” is a network of property owners and environmentally minded citizens who monitor eagle nest activities on Vancouver and the Gulf Islands in British Columbia.

Pamichen, a GROWLS member, captured 14 minutes of incredible nest cam footage of the nail-biting phenomenon, when on several occasions it seem for all the world like the eagles are going to just start ripping this little fluffy red-tailed hawk baby to pieces.

But hour after hour, eaglet and baby hawk just continue to shift around in the nest, eating scraps of leftover food. Just before dark, “it really [seemed] like they were going to go in for the kill,” Pamichen can be heard saying in the video. But as darkness falls, the two babies crawl under mama’s wings, and the next afternoon, she even feeds her hostage.

It didn’t actually take that long for mother and child to decide to welcome the little thing into their family.

One YouTube commenter has since given an update that the hawk has now fledged and goes back and forth between his new home.

“It’s amazing how often this actually happens,” another one said 3 weeks ago. “I’ve seen it documented in at least 4 different nests just from various nest cam channels.”