Hawk raised by eagles behaves like its adoptive family

An orphaned hawk found an unlikely home with a nest of bald eagles and worked hard to fit in with its new family.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read

"Spunky" is an apt nickname for a baby hawk adopted by a family of bald eagles in Sidney, British Columbia. The red-tailed hawklet moved into the nest and found a home. Spunky picked up some eagle-inspired habits, such as chowing down on fish rather than a hawk's usual meal of rodents or snakes.

National Geographic posted a video about the extraordinary hawk on Monday. The footage comes in part from the Hancock Wildlife Foundation, a bald eagle conservation organization that operates livestreaming nest cams. Nest watchers first spotted the hawklet in June.  

YouTube user and professional photographer Christian Sasse has been documenting Spunky's time with the eagles and caught the hawk noshing on a fish in mid-July. Sasse also filmed the hawk calling to the mother eagle and competing for food with its much larger eagle siblings.

David Hancock, the foundation's founder, surmises the baby hawk may have ended up in the nest if its mother was captured by the eagles and deposited the egg there. Another option is an eagle picked it up as a chick, brought it back to the nest for a meal and then accidentally adopted it instead.

The hawk and the eagles aren't meant to be a long-term match. The two kinds of birds don't normally don't get along, and the eagles migrate north while hawks remain in the area.

The Hancock Wildlife Foundation posted a Facebook update on the hawklet on Monday, noting it has been gone since Friday morning. "He seemed strong on his last visit. We are wishing him well after about a month of flying the neighborhood," the foundation says. 

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