It was a story that captured the hearts and minds of Northern California when a family of Redding eagles were found raising a young hawk in their nest. World-renown eagle biologists flocked to Shasta County to observe a rare occurrence in nature – a predator actively raising its prey.
The situation seemed like such a beautiful moment in nature. But now, the hawklet has gone missing and those who have been keeping a close eye on the situation fear the worst happened to the hawlet dubbed “Tuffy.”
“It has been 4 days now since we last saw Tuffy up in the nest with his adopted Eagle Family,” wrote The Friends of Redding Eagles on Facebook. “We have not had any sightings or heard any calls from Tuffy while we have been out at the Nest Area. If we had not found the pile of young hawk feathers scattered around on the ground below the nest, I would have some hope that Tuffy is still with us.”
It seems the evidence points to the eagles finally consuming little Tuffy as a meal. It was a tough ending for many who found the great positivity in the story, but a testament to the cruel world of nature.
“Unless you’re human, you don’t go and raise your dinner. It’s so seldom been observed,” eagle biologist David 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.
Tuffy had been fed fish and cared for by the mother and father eagle, along with two eaglets. A very rare occurrence in nature to see a predator actively feed its prey, before eventually consuming it.
But we will always remember the brave little hawklet who lived with the alphas of the sky. RIP Tuffy.