California eagles adopt baby hawk. A group of California eagles surprisingly adopt a baby hawk. Now that’s a rare thing: eagles adopting a baby hawk. well, that’s what just happened in California.
Eagles and hawks are not the best of friends. But sometimes circumstances can turn your enemies into your best friends. A groups eagles in California were spotted adopting and caring for a baby hawk. Terri Lhuillier, an avid eagle-watcher in Redding, California had been keeping an eye on this particular nest outside of town since May.
But by this day in mid-June, when she and her husband were going over their most recent batch of pictures, they noticed something in one shot that they hadn’t picked up on in person.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Lhuillier said. “I was looking, and I was like, ‘Wait a minute, that body is way too much smaller than the other two.’”
What he saw was a baby hawk adopted by the eagles.
Bird experts are putting forward two main theories about how a red-tailed hawk chick, a species that is a fraction of the size of an eagle, ended up in the nest.
First, raptor scientist David Bird proposes to the Sun that one of the eagles may have raided a hawk nest, grabbed the young hawk and carried it back home.
A second theory, proposed in a blog post by David Hancock of the Hancock Wildlife Foundation, suggests that the egg actually hatched in the nest.
It’s common for red-tailed hawks to divebomb bald eagle nests, he says. “If the attacking red-tail, egg in oviduct, did get carried back to the nearby eagle nest, it is not unlikely that either in the death throes or upon being torn apart (less likely in my experience!) the egg got deposited into the eagle nest.”
The Hancock Wildlife Foundation is regularly posting video updates of the nest. While the rare interspecies adoption has captivated many, it may take a less heart-warming turn, experts warn.