Bald Eagle finally gets to be a dad! 🦅💖This eagle went viral for sitting on a rock!
Many children go through a stage where they enjoy playing with dolls, pretending to feed their baby dolls, reading books to them, and putting them to sleep. What’s interesting is that, as Southern Living reports, some eagles go through a sort of similar stage. For Murphy, an older, injured bald eagle who caringly and tenderly incubated a rock “egg,” this wasn’t just a chance to play at being a dad. After Murphy went viral for taking care of a rock, his keepers at the World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park, Missouri, gave him a real baby eaglet to care for.
Murphy sits on a rock.
Murphy’s been living at Word Bird Sanctuary for years, CBS News reports, ever since an injury as a chick left him unable to fly. This past March, this 31-year-old bald eagle found himself a rock, built a nest on the ground, and started incubating it, waiting for his “chick” to “hatch.”
The sanctuary, in tongue-in-cheek fashion, wrote in a Facebook post, “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. We wish Murphy all the luck in the world, but we have yet to see a rock hatch.”
The post received more than 14,000 likes, and many commenters responded that they felt bad for Murphy and that the sanctuary should swap it out for a real egg. The World Bird Sanctuary later clarified that, “Although it might make you feel sad that Murphy has built a nest and is nurturing a rock as an egg, it’s just his hormonal response to spring. Murphy is not sad, so you don’t need to be. Male bald eagles take an equal part in raising young, so this is very natural behavior for a male.”
“Murphy does not need a real egg to feel accomplished. He’s quite content with his rock, and he’s very protective of it! After his spring hormones have run their course, he will get bored and move on to other activities. This is where you can feel sad—for the rock.”
Whether Murphy sat on his “egg” due to spring hormones or whether he was dreaming of parenthood, he proved to be an extremely conscientious dad, turning the “egg” every few hours.
Southern Living reports that far from “getting bored and moving on to other activities,” Murphy could still be found perched on the “egg” a month later. His roommates, the three other eagles he shared his enclosure with, were stressed by Murphy’s attempts to aggressively protect his “egg” from harm, and the staff moved him to a private enclosure.
The sanctuary explained in a Facebook post, “Our beloved Murphy the eagle has begun to cause a bit too much drama with his over-exuberant protection of his nest and RockBaby within the 90,000+ cubic foot eagle aviary at World Bird Sanctuary.”