Happy Bald Eagle-Hawklet Day!
The Mayor of Sidney, Canada has proclaimed Sunday August 6th, 2017 as Bald Eagle-Hawklet Day in recognition and celebration of the incredible events that took place this summer in an eagles’ nest high above Roberts Bay — a baby red-tailed hawk was raised by bald eagles.
Why, you wonder, is this deserving of special proclamation and celebration? Beyond being beautiful and well-documented proof (links at the end) that nature is awesome, the actions of this Eagle-Hawk family provides confirmation that:
Impossible odds aren’t always impossible:
— Red-tailed hawks and bald eagles are normally adversaries with eagles known to eat red-tailed chicks. And yet, for nearly seven weeks a whole family of eagles not only didn’t eat a baby hawk in their own nest, they actively cared for it.
Natural instincts aren’t just to eat or be eaten:
— There are two theories as to how Little Eagle (aka Spunky) and another hawk chick got in the eagles nest. The first, the hawk mother laid the eggs in the eagle nest and disappeared or was killed when the bald eagles returned to the nest. The second, the eagle parents brought the hawk chicks to feed to their eaglets. While neither theory put the eagles in the best light as a foster family, it does make it even more incredible that all five eagles chose to not automatically and instinctively eat what was to them immediately available food. It also seems counter to everything we tend think about nature.
Nurture is one of the most powerful forces on earth:
— While, unfortunately, one of the hawk chicks died or was eaten, Little Eagle’s demands to be fed triggered a nurturing instinct in the eagle parents who decided to feed the hawklet instead of eat it. For nearly two months, the hawklet was part of the bald eagle family. It lived in the eagles’ nest, was fed by the eagle “parents”, and competed for food and space with it’s much larger eaglet siblings. According to David Hancock, director of the Hancock Wildlife Foundation, full-grown, Little Eagle is only about two pounds while the eaglet siblings are about twelve pounds each.
Seeing makes it real:
— Though extremely rare, Eagles raising hawks are not totally unheard of. What will cement “Spunky” and the Roberts Bay bald eagles in folklore and legend… their nearly 2 months together were well documented in YouTube videos, amateur and professional photographs and on discussion forums.
Here are a few of my favorites videos:
May 31 video by elle1246 — bald eagle feeding Little Eagle (Spunky).
June 25 video by elle1246 — *Note the closeness between the hawklet (Little Eagle) and bald eagle parent, but also the incredible size difference between eagle parent and adopted hawklet and between the hawklet and it’s three eaglet siblings.
July 13 video by elle1246
So have a Happy Bald Eagle-Hawklet Day!
Enjoy another story Celebrating A Nurturing Nature as a baby duck feeds fish.