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Central Minnesota bald eagle adopts duck egg

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Eagle, eagle ... gray duck?

A family of bald eagles in central Minnesota is getting a lot of attention for adopting a duck egg.

Over the weekend, a mother eagle in central Minnesota that is featured on Minnesota Bound's live bald eagle cam discovered an egg inside a duck the birds had ripped apart and were eating for dinner, FOX 9 reports.

One expert believes that what happened next was natural instinct – a mother eagle pulled the egg under her and is caring for it like it's her own.

"There is just an innate urge to respond. So, for instance, bringing the egg under her to brood. That's just an, you know, egg – you put it under you to brood," Julia Ponder, of the the University of Minnesota's Raptor Center, told FOX 9.

ScienceBlogs notes that, typically, eagles would also eat the egg, but because the eagles are nesting, they chose to nurture it instead.

Here's a YouTube video of the adoption:

Will the duck egg survive and hatch? Ponder told FOX 9 that after the eagle incubated her own eggs for 35 days, it's unlikely she'll stick around for another 28 days to hatch the duckling, especially as her eaglets get older.

This set of eagles laid three eggs back in March and, according to attentive viewers on the Minnesota Bound eagle camera's Facebook page, the last of the three eaglets hatched over the weekend.

Ponder says if the duckling does hatch, the eagles will recognize right away that it's not an eaglet, which won't bode well for the young bird, FOX 9 notes.

Watch the eagle cam (Note: The camera is solar powered, so a picture isn't always available – especially when it's rainy):

Video streaming by Ustream

This set of eagles is not to be confused with those featured on a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources EagleCam that has gained worldwide attention since the eaglets hatched at the end of March. On Tuesday, the DNR said the eaglets, which are a few weeks older than the Minnesota Bound's eagles, will be ready to take their first flight in the next month or so.

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