Just like people, animals are capable of forming family bonds in a wide variety of ways. You’ll see animals adopt strays of their species, roaming males protecting widowed females and even herds of animals caring for orphaned babies — all for the sake of raising the next generation
One of the more interesting family structures found in the animal kingdom belongs to the bald eagle. The national bird of the U.S. has a strong drive to form families, with males and females mating for life. Both parents cooperate to raise their young, building a nest together in the same place every year and raising their chicks to adulthood. Male eagles even share egg-warming responsibilities.
Just like humans, though, not all eagle families follow the traditional mold. At the Upper Mississippi River Refuge in Illinois, a female bald eagle has been raising her chicks with not one but two male bald eagles.
The unusual group has been living together since 2017, successfully raising a baby to adulthood with all three parents doing their part. What’s more, the wildlife refuge is live streaming the eagles’ nest — and you can watch!
How did an Eagle family have two fathers?
The story of Valor I, Valor II and Starr is dramatic enough to compete with a TV soap opera. The two male eagles, Valor I and II, were originally part of a family with a different female eagle named Hope. Valor I was Hope’s first mate, but due to his irresponsibility with nest duties, she allowed another male eagle to join the nest.
This eagle, Valor II, took his parenting responsibility more seriously and permanently moved into Hope’s nest.
Surprisingly, Valor I didn’t seem to mind this. In fact, after seeing Valor II working his hardest to maintain the nest and incubate eggs, Valor I began taking his own duties more seriously. The three eagles worked together to raise their chicks until tragedy struck and Hope was killed by another eagle.
Valor I and II didn’t abandon one another, though. The two males eventually brought a new female back to the nest named Starr, who decided to pair with both males as mates. Together, the trio raised a chick to adulthood, and are now raising new eaglets together as a family.
How to watch the eagle cam live stream
To look in live on this interesting family of eagles, watch the stream below. Or, tap or click here if you don’t see the video player.
The Trio Eagle Cam is currently live and broadcasting footage of the eagles’ daily doings. Right now, the three eaglets have managed to hatch from their eggs and are growing up thanks to mom, dad and dad number two bringing them lots of tasty fish.
Over time, you’ll be able to see the eaglets grow and mature alongside their three parents. You might also get to see the fledglings take flight for the first time as their parents teach them the fundamentals of life in the air.
If you want to take a peek into the lives of other eagles, all you need to do is visit the official YouTube page for the Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge.