The bottom line is that he was much smaller, and eagles always prey on things that are weaker than them. ~ Canadian ornithologist David Bird
In the spring of 2017, a bald eagle on Vancouver Island in Canada brought home to its chicks something tasty for dinner: a red-tailed hawk chick. Dumped into the nest, the little red-tailed hawk found itself among 3 bald eaglets 4 times its size.
Unintimidated, the tiny hawk felt like having a meal rather than being one. Showing spunk instead of fear, the hawk chick insistently begged to be fed. The eagle parents obliged.
My guess is that this little guy begged loud and hard for food; not even thinking about the danger. Food overrides everything in these birds. He begged away and mom and dad said, “OK, here’s an open, gaping beak. Let’s put food in it.”
If the eaglets happened to get hungry it would have been curtains, but there was always lots of food in the nest. That and the hawk’s attitude, being aggressive. He was running through the legs of the 3 eaglets and taking food from their beaks. ~ David Bird
It’s quite something to see the way the hawk is treated. The parents are quite attentive. The eagle nestlings are keeping their distance – they know it is something different. ~ Canadian ornithologist Kerry Finley
Within a few weeks, the eaglets had grown used to their scrappy little nestmate.
The eaglets that he was raised with seem to have accepted him as another sibling, and the parents seem to have adopted him as their young. ~ David Bird