Nature never stops surprising us! The maternal instincts of this owl have left social media speechless.
When a Florida woman notices an unlikely duo in her backyard, she knew the whole world should enjoy the heartwarming sights.
The lady from Jupiter, Florida, who also happens to be a wildlife artist and photographer, came across a sweet owl nesting in her backyard, but then she found out something fascinating.
The wild bird decided to live inside a home box she has in her patio, and it didn’t take long till it built a nest. Expectedly, Wolf figured the Eastern Shriek owl had an infant owl with her, but it turned out to be something else.
Laurie Wolf thought that the National Geographic would be interested in the lovely story and send the photo to the renowned channel, saying: “The two of them were just sitting there side by side. It’s not believable. It’s not believable to me to this day.”
When the baby bird hatched, it turned out it was a duckling egg. Surprisingly, it didn’t stop the owl from raising it. It was discovered that the duck was a wood duck, a breed that has been known to be raised by shriek owls.
“Both of them were simply staying there next to each other. It’s not convincing. It’s not convincing to me right up ’til the present time.”
Although it seemed like the owl cared for the duckling, Wolf was hesitant about the new mother’s intentions, fearing she might eat the baby duck.
After reaching out to a local bird expert, Wolf learned that there was a possibility that owl could harm the duckling. Happily, the local wildlife sanctuary agreed to take in the baby duck.
But then, when Wolf and her husband went back to the bird duo, the duckling hopped out of the home box and went to a nearby pond. The couple has never seen the baby duck again.
“I don’t think I’ll ever experience anything like that in my life again,” Wolf said.
The Manitoba director of Bird Studies Canada, Christian Artuso, explained the phenomenon and said that the wood duck breed practice “brood parasitism,” which is pretty common among wood duck birds.
Wood ducks usually don’t lay all their eggs in one spot. They prefer laying them in other nests hoping they will hatch eventually.
Artuso mentioned a previous incident from 2007 when three wood duck chicks settled with a mother owl. He explained the wood duck prefers spreading the eggs in order to increase the chances of reproducing as a way to prevent a situation of one preditor attack that risks all the eggs.
It seems like maternal instinct is the main cause for birds incubating other birds’ eggs, but it’s impossible to know what they really think when they decide to do it.
As there’s no absolute scientific reason for this behavior, Artuso believes the duckling may have survived because duck chicks are considered as independent.