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Bald Eagle that Tried to Hatch a Rock Finally Gets to Be a Stepdad

By: Roya Li

In early March of this year, Murphy, a bald eagle at the World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park, Missouri, began sitting all day on a makeshift nest inside an aviary. This behavior itself is not uncommon. The male eagle always assists the female during the hatching process. In this case, however, the 31-year-old bird was trying to hatch a rock!

Over the next few weeks, Murphy became increasingly protective of his "offspring." If his eagle companions approached the nest, he would scream at them. To avoid any confrontation, Murphy was moved to a separate pen in April.

That same week, bird rescuers brought a baby hawk into the sanctuary. A storm had destroyed the baby bird's nest, and the baby bird was stranded on the ground. Sanctuary staff wanted to associate it with an eagle, not a human. This will allow them to release the bird back into the wild when it's ready. Since Murphy has already shown his fatherly instincts, it makes perfect sense to pair Kitty Hawk with him.

According to Dawn Griffard, CEO of World Bird Sanctuary, "he was already showing the hormonal aspects of raising a chick. And he was taking such good care of his rock that we decided that he would be our best bet.”

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