Bald Eagle Who Tried to Hatch a Rock Has Been Given a Real Eaglet to Raise

Spring can spark many changes in animals. In the case of a 31-year-old bald eagle named Murphy, it triggered the need to build a nest and care for a rock as if it were a real egg. People online were amused by his ritual, but the World Bird Sanctuary, where he resides, promised it was a natural instinct from his spring hormones. The story took a happy turn, however, when Murphy was introduced to a baby eaglet and transferred his paternal instincts to the baby bird.

Murphy was first seen trying to hatch his precious rock in late March. “Very quietly and inconspicuously, one of our bald eagles, Murphy (male) has built an extremely simple nest on the ground and is incubating his single ‘egg' very carefully and attentively,” the World Bird Sanctuary tweeted. Some commenters expressed concern about how Murphy would fair when his rock doesn't hatch, but the sanctuary quickly assured people that the behavior was normal. “Murphy does not need a real egg to feel accomplished!! He’s quite content with his rock, and VERY protective of it!” they wrote. “After his spring hormones have run their course, he will get bored and move on to other activities. Poor rock.”

However, due to Murphy's protective behavior—which was disrupting the large aviary he shares with other eagles—he and his rock had to be moved to a private enclosure. Around the same time, the sanctuary received a rescue eaglet who was in need of a foster parent. Despite Murphy's age and lack of parenting experience, the staff decided to give him a test run and slowly introduced the eaglet to him in short private sessions. Slowly but surely, Murphy began to channel his paternal instincts to the baby bird.

“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 peephole to make sure the eaglet was safe,” shared the sanctuary. “It took Murphy an hour before he approached 23-126 and examined with curiosity.” From there, Murphy and the eaglet's relationship continued to blossom as Murphy has even begun feeding it meals. We're happy to see that Murphy's dream of being a parent is finally being fulfilled.

You can follow the World Bird Sanctuary on Twitter and Instagram to get updates on Murphy and the eaglet.

Murphy, a 31-year-old bald eagle who tried to hatch a rock, has been given a real eaglet to raise.

In March, Murphy was filmed protecting a rock as if it was a real egg.

Due to his protective instincts, the World Bird Sanctuary decided to move him to a private enclosure.

There, he was introduced to a baby eagle.

And Murphy quickly bonded to the eaglet, transferring his paternal instincts from the rock to the eaglet.

People are overjoyed for the little family, and have made cute comics to celebrate.

World Bird Sanctuary: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
h/t: [BoingBoing]

All images via World Bird Sanctuary.

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. She wrote and illustrated an instructional art book about how to draw cartoons titled 'Cartooning Made Easy: Circle, Triangle, Square' that was published by Walter Foster in 2022.
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