Bald Eagle Gets Paired Up With Orphaned Eaglet After Caring For Rock It Thought Was An Egg

Bald eagle
World Bird Sanctuary

Here’s a feel good story for you.

A 31-year-old bald eagle named Murphy that lives in a sanctuary in Missouri clearly wanted to be a father. How did those at World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park know that? Because he was meticulously taking care of an egg for weeks on end, and that “egg” was actually just a rock.

The sanctuary stated that Murphy’s behavior wasn’t out of the norm necessarily, and the male bald eagle was just acting from a place of natural hormones. Murphy started taking care of the rock during the spring time, when bald eagles generally lay eggs and incubate them until they hatch.

So the bald eagle was just trying to be a good father, despite not actually having an egg to take care of. His actions and the seriousness that he displayed taking care of the rock warmed the hearts of many, and also showcased that he was undoubtedly ready to be a father.

In a way, the stars aligned for this situation to take care of itself. An eaglet was taken into the sanctuary around the same time after it was found on the ground in the woods, presumably after the nest it was being raised in was blown out of a tree.

That’s where Murphy enters in as somewhat of a step-dad to the eaglet. And I say that in the “he’s the dad that stepped up” version of the title. Murphy and the Eaglet (which was later named Rocky as a call back to the rock Murphy took care of) bonded almost immediately.

Murphy helped raise the eaglet until it was ready to live out on its own. Staying true to the typical role of a parent, the older bald eagle helped prepare Rocky until he could handle life out in the real world, and eventually Rocky was.

That means that Murphy the bald eagle is now literally and figuratively an empty nester, but he was happy to serve as a foster parent to help out the eaglet that was in need of a parental figure.

Take a look:

That story really went viral last spring, so you might be wondering how Murphy is doing now?

Murphy won’t ever be able to be released back into the wild because of a wing injury, so he’ll spend the rest of his life at the Missouri Sanctuary. It’s unfortunate, but all signs point toward the older bald eagle really enjoying his life despite his injury.

And it’s a life that comes with its many perks, like now being entrusted as a primary caregiver for any other orphaned eaglets that come along, or getting to take a bath in one of the biggest bird baths you’ll ever see:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock