The Friends of Redding Eagles recently noticed an odd situation at the nearby eagle’s nest when baby red-tailed hawk had joined the family of eagles living in their nest, a very rare occurrence in nature.
Why is it so rare? Because eagles typically eat red-tailed hawks.
The eagle enthusiast community keeps its eyes on Shasta County as world-renowned eagle biologist David Hancock traveled from British Columbia to Redding to study the phenomenon. He is being tasked with trying try to explain why on earth the eagles would adopt a potential meal.
“Unless you’re human, you don’t go and raise your dinner. It’s so seldom been observed,” Hancock said to the Record Searchlight.
Members of the Friends of Redding Eagles, who have kept the nest private for its protection, believe the hawklet was grabbed from its nest while the eagles raided it for food. Once back at the eagles nest, the hawlet most-likely began begging for food.
“It’s the same begging response that the young eaglet has,” Hancock said to Action News Now. “So mum did a complete reversal, instead of reaching down and tearing the head off this young red tail, she reached over and fed it, so it was kind of a lucky break for this red tail. Instead of becoming dinner, he got fed dinner.”
The hawklet, dubbed “Tuffy,” has been fed fish and cared for by the mother and father hawk, along with two eaglets. And although the estimated 5-week-old hawk is almost ready to fly, it will have to learn how to hunt a hawk diet, like rodents and small mammals, on its own.
An interesting phenomenon and a testament to the complicated ecosystem of nature. One minute your food, the next your living with the alphas of the sky. Godspeed, Tuffy.