B.C. eagles adopt, raise baby hawk

The Canadian Press

SIDNEY, B.C.–An unusual story of adoption and survival is unfolding in a bald eagle’s nest in Sidney on Vancouver Island.
An eagle is raising several of its own young, but also has hatched an egg left by a red hawk and is feeding and caring for it.
How the hawk egg got into the nest is a mystery, but bird experts suspect the mother laid it before being scared off or killed by the larger raptor.
David Bird, with the Hancock Wildlife Foundation in Sidney, says there are few examples of eagles adopting other birds.
He says in this case, the adult eagle’s hormonal drive to kill and eat the baby hawk was overridden by the hormonal drive to feed and raise it.
But Bird warned the hawk is half the age and one-quarter the size of its adopted siblings, and must survive another two weeks before it can fly away from nest mates that likely are to devour it if they get hungry.
“They’re going to look at this little hawk and say, ‘I’m bigger than you and you are weaker than me, and I’m just going to squeeze the life out of you and start eating you,'” said Bird.
So far, though, everyone seems to be getting along .
Bird said in the 10 years the eagles have been using this nest in suburban Victoria, no one has seen the parents exhibiting adoptive behaviour.