Baby red tailed hawk raised by eagles a "miracle kid"
A birder and wildlife photographer who has been documenting the strange case of a baby red tailed hawk being raised by eagles in Sidney says the little guy continues to defy the odds. More than that, Terry Venables says the baby bird he's dubbed "little eagle" is thriving under the care of his much larger parents, who are normally natural rivals:
"He's thriving. He's done incredibly well. The parents have singled him out on many occasions and fed him first before the eaglets. So, he's a miracle kid!"
How the hawk came to be in the nest has been a topic of debate with some saying the mother eagle may have brought it to feed to its eaglets, but then let it's mothering instincts take over. Others believe a mother hawk laid it's eggs in the nest before the eagles arrived and the baby hawk is the only one of its sibling to survive, and ultimately be adopted. In nay case the situation has attracted interest from around the world, and Venables has been documenting it on his site naturalimagescanada.ca.
Venables says while red tailed hawks aren't known to be fish eaters, this baby hawk likes his fish:
" I would saw a tiny percent of what they eat is fish. And that's what eagles do. I've seen them drop herring in, I've seen them come in with small salmon."
Terry Venables says the baby hawk was the first of the brood to fledge, or leave the nest -- and of his 3 eaglet "siblings" only one is left to fledge. But while the babies are still returning to the nest for food, they will soon be on their own:
"Mom and Dad kind of wean them off of food and eventually they're on their own, which is frightening when you think of it because they're really completely unprepared for the world. They have to learn how to hunt and they have to learn how to survive on their own. And sadly there's quite a high mortality rate. And it's the old nature thing, survival of the fittest."
Venables says the little hawk has been acting like and eaglet and feeing like one, so it will be interesting to see how he fares on his own.