Here’s why this young hawk thinks it’s an eagle.

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Here’s why this young hawk thinks it’s an eagle.

Hawks and eagles are bitter rivals when it comes to the hunt for food and survival in the wild. But a young hawk who found himself dropped in an eagle’s nest is still thriving, six weeks after being spotted in the nest in British Columbia.

Scientists have nicknamed the hawk ‘Spunky’ and have marveled at the bird’s continued adaptation and survival. Scientists thought the bird wouldn’t survive long and would likely be killed by the other eagles, but Spunky was saved from predation by the availability of abundant food in the protected area.

Spunky first gained headlines weeks ago, when he landed in the nest after his parents were killed and he was dropped in the eagle nest. His squawks for food likely triggered the eagle’s maternal instincts. Now, scientists think the hawk has learned to believe he’s an eagle.

“This guy has definitely imprinted on bald eagles, and thinks he’s a bald eagle. 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,” raptor specialist David Bird told the Vancouver Sun.

The next step for Spunky, though, is developing his skills and identity as a hawk. Eagles will soon migrate as fall sets in, but hawks stay in the region — and need to learn how to hunt from the ground.

Scientists haven’t given up hope, though. Spunky has learned to swoop down and pick up forest materials like sticks and pinecones, a precursor to hunting prey on the ground. Spunky has also been bullied by his eagle siblings, which might deter him from trying to bond with eagles in the future and keep him from a natural enemy.

Spunky’s future is uncertain, especially as the seasons change and he grows older. But if his name is any indication, he might have enough gumption and chutzpah to survive and hopefully thrive in the future.

See the video below to see Spunky in action and watch a unique, compelling survival story…

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