A bald Eagle named Murphy, aged 31, got much attention from the world last year as a disabled bird residing at the World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park, Missouri. Murphy became a viral topic for his endearing act of sitting on a rock, seemingly mistaking it for an egg. The nation was captivated by his story, as the Eagle, despite his disability, was ready to become a father. Let’s read the article, explore what happened to Murphy the Eagle, and see his present life.

Murphy the Eagle behavior

Due to injury, he is unable to fly, so he spent a lot of time constructing his nest for most of his 31-year life. Over time, he increasingly vocalised loudly and aggressively to anyone’s approach.

Dawn Griffard, CEO of World Bird Sanctuary, told the Washington Post’s Praveena Somasundaram, “We’ve never had a bird at the sanctuary protect a nest like that, so viciously”. 

The Sanctuary Facebook page said, “We wish Murphy all the luck in the world, but we’re not telling him the reality of the situation. We have yet to see a rock hatch”.

The viral post sparked national news coverage and raised concerns for Murphy and his rock baby. World Bird Sanctuary reassured Murphy’s fans, stating no need to worry. “Although it might make you feel sad that Murphy has built a nest and is nurturing a rock as an egg, it’s just his hormonal response to spring“. They emphasized that Murphy was not sad, as male bald Eagles play an equal role in raising young, making such behaviour natural for a male Eagle.

Sanctuary’s intervention

As time went on, he became more and more dedicated to his rock,” says Roger Holloway, executive director of the sanctuary, to Danny Wicentowski of St. Louis Public Radio (STLPR). Murphy’s increasing dedication to his rock led to heightened aggression in protecting his nest, necessitating his move to a separate enclosure. 

Murphy’s journey for became a father

At 31, Murphy appeared determined to become a first-time dad. Fortunately, keepers had just the thing. On April 1, the sanctuary received its first bald Eagle nestling in over eight years. Bald Eagle 23-126, with a broken wing from a storm, urgently needed a parent.

To determine if Murphy could safely act as a surrogate, keepers initiated a bonding process between the two birds a few days after the Eaglet’s arrival. They removed the rock baby and placed the Eaglet, protected by a cage, into the enclosure with Murphy. “He was already showing the hormonal aspects of raising a chick, and he was taking such good care of his rock that we decided that he would be the best father of Eaglet.” said Griffard.

Murphy quickly responded to the Eaglet’s peeps. A week after they were introduced, the cage was removed to allow the two to interact more closely. Murphy and the Eaglet didn’t eat separately when given food. Murphy tore his fish to share with the baby.

Murphy the Eagle becomes a dad

Murphy the Eagle, what happened to his life?

In the summer of 2023, the Sanctuary aimed to release the Eagle into the Wild. Griffard, as reported by the Post, mentioned that Murphy will intuitively grasp the opportune moment. During this period, Murphy will have the opportunity to fully embrace fatherhood. However, as of 2024, we have no information on Murphy’s release to the Wild.

According to the Reddit platform, they have posted a new post mentioning that Murphy is now raising an orphaned Eagle chick and living happily together. 


In conclusion, Murphy the Eagle’s journey from a rock to fatherhood is heartwarming. Despite challenges, he lives happily, nurturing an Eagle and embracing fatherhood.


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