Pam McCartney, a volunteer with the Nanaimo, B.C. wildlife organization GROWLS, was watching a livestream of a hawk’s nest being attacked by eagles when she saw something incredibly rare.
One of the eagles grabbed a baby hawk from the nest, likely intending to eat the bird or feed it to its own eaglet. Moments later, the larger predator had taken the baby red-tailed hawk under its wing, quite literally.
“This bird likely came from a red-tailed hawk nest that was preyed upon by the adult bald eagles,” ornithologist David Bird, a professor emeritus of wildlife biology at Montreal’s McGill University, told As It Happens guest host Tom Harrington.
Webcam footage of the eagles’ nest on Gabriola Island captured by GROWLS shows the baby hawk as it was dropped by the eagle.
“Usually when I watch, like David Attenborough and his shows, I can close my eyes or fast forward or whatever, but this was live at the time, and I was just like, oh, my gosh, oh, my gosh,” McCartney said. “She just kind of dropped it, you know, and it came alive. And [the] eaglet was just like, ‘What the heck, Mom? What is this? Why is it moving?’”
While at first likely “to be torn apart,” Bird said, the power of a mother’s instinct proved stronger than hunger.
Neither the mother eagle nor the eaglet attacked the little hawk. The two baby birds sat apart for a short time, but eventually became closely acquainted.
“The next thing you know, the little hawk bounces up and starts begging for food right away,” Bird said. “That’s what saved its life.”
“It’s similar to us,” McCartney said, comparing the bird buddies to humans. “We’re not all conventional and we’re not exactly how everybody thinks we should be or we’re different — and we’re beautiful, and it’s beautiful.”
This article by Matthew Russell was first published by The Animal Rescue Site. Lead Image: THE EAGLE MIGHT HAVE EATEN THEE BABY HAWK, BUT ITS MOTHERLY INSTINCTS TOOK OVER.
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