Murphy the Bald Eagle

Murphy the Bald Eagle

Murphy Bald Eagle Dad

If you have not heard about Murphy the Bald Eagle at the World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park, Missouri you may be living under a rock. Which would be quite funny actually, as Murphy, a male Ambassador at the sanctuary, aggressively incubated a rock this spring. It was entertaining, as the sanctuary posted pictures of ‘Murph’ spending time on the rock and becoming very territorial about it. The general assumption was that when his hormones calmed down and the rock didn’t hatch, Murph would go back to life as usual. That’s what we all thought, until April Fools Day.


On April 1, 2023, an eaglet arrived at the sanctuary. It was the first eaglet the sanctuary had received in eight years and was one to two weeks old upon arrival. It was one of two eaglets from a nest that collapsed and unfortunately, the other eaglet did not survive.

Murphy Bald Eagle Baby Bird

The normal procedure for caring for an eaglet is to have as little human interaction as possible. An eaglet can imprint to humans, so Bald Eagle plushies are used during feeding, especially when they are this young, as their eyes are not developed enough to realize it’s not a real bird feeding them.

Now, fast forward a few weeks and the eaglet's eyesight is getting better and Murph is pretty sure that his “egg” will be hatching any day. It made sense to try and put the eaglet with Murphy - having a real Bald Eagle care for and feed the eaglet is the best case scenario, however, with Murph being so territorial around his egg, staff were cautious about introducing him to the eaglet. At first, the eaglet was put in a dog crate and placed in Murphy’s enclosure. Murphy was incredibly curious about the eaglet. Eventually, staff decided to put eaglet in the enclosure without protection. They put a feeding shoot directly overhead to drop food into the eaglet’s area.

World Bird Sanctuary Murphy Bald Eagle

Things immediately did not go as planned. Eaglet and Murphy were so curious about each other, eaglet managed to topple outside his/her “nest” and onto the floor of Murphy’s enclosure. He/she was safe, but was now away from the food shoot. Staff waited and watched and … sure enough, Murphy began to feed the eaglet from his own fish! Nature took it’s course and absolute magic has happened ever since.

If you want to follow this saga, go to the World Bird Sanctuary Instagram and Facebook pages. The World Bird Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting endangered bird species through education, rehabilitation and research. It offers a variety of programs and exhibits to educate the public, but Murphy the Bald Eagle is the BEST ambassador teaching us humans at the moment. The sanctuary is always happy to receive donations, so please visit and consider a donation. The only donation too small is no donation at all.

Here’s to Murph! And here’s to baby eaglet, too. Once he/she is old enough, the hope is to release him/her back to the wild. Go follow along with us as this incredible story continues!

* all images used in this article belong to the World Bird Sanctuary

Back to blog