This month in 2023, a big moment in the life of an eagle named Murphy, who had become internet famous for raising a rock.

(Maybe this eagle smelled what the rock was cooking?)

Murphy was living at the World Bird Sanctuary in Missouri because of a permanent wing injury.

He was one of five eagles living in a special aviary that’s adapted for the needs of those specific birds.

In March 2023, someone posted a photo on social media of a truly amazing sign on this aviary that read:

If you see an eagle lying down in the back left corner under a perch, that’s Murphy! Murphy is NOT hurt, sick, or otherwise in distress. He has built a nest on the ground, and is very carefully incubating a rock! We wish him the best of luck!

Nesting instincts kick in for some birds even when they haven’t mated or created a chick, and so they sometimes start treating round things, like rocks, as eggs.

The fact that Murphy was doing all of this so seriously, working so hard to care for and protect his rock, got him all kinds of attention from people online.

It also got the attention of the sanctuary staff, who had just gotten word that there was a real live baby eaglet that had fallen out of a tree at a spot an hour or so away, and needed a parent.

They wondered if they could maybe find a way for Murphy to turn all that care for the rock into care for this baby bird.

It took a little time for him to get up to speed, but Murphy became a very doting dad to eaglet 23-126, raising the little one so well for three months that the sanctuary was able to release the youngster back into the wild.

By the way, it is considered bad luck to give an actual name to any bird that’s going back into nature.

Otherwise, by significant popular demand they would have named Murphy’s eaglet “Rocky.”

Starting tomorrow in Rockwall, Texas it’s the annual Texas Pie Fest.

There will be a pie baking contest, a pie eating contest, a kids pie eating contest, a dog pie eating contest… and if all that isn’t enough, a pie fight!

Just remember that pie fighters must wear appropriate clothing and footwear at all times!

An Eagle Who Adopted a Rock Becomes a Real Dad (New York Times)

Here’s How to Get in on the End of Day Pie Fight at the Texas Pie Fest (Eater)

Help this show soar like an eagle as a backer on Patreon

Photo by Paul Sableman via Flickr/Creative Commons