Murphy’s Eaglet Release a Success

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New World Bird Sanctuary Foster Center to be commissioned to honor Murphy

ST. LOUIS, July 7, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — In a joyous event along the banks of the Mississippi River, the orphaned Eaglet fostered by Murphy the Bald Eagle was released along the Mississippi River to cheers from hundreds of enthusiastic supporters.

Kira Klebe, Hospital Manager at the World Bird Sanctuary in St. Louis, Missouri, releases Eaglet 23-126 at The Audubon Center at Riverlands in West Alton, Missouri, on the banks of the Mississippi River.

Murphy captured international acclaim when news of him incubating a rock spread like wildfire through social media. The story took an even more remarkable turn when staff at St. Louis’ World Bird Sanctuary recognized Murphy’s potential as a caregiver for a recently orphaned baby eagle (Eaglet 23-126 — the 126th patient in 2023 at the Sanctuary’s hospital), placing a calculated bet on his nurturing instincts.

“Today is a wonderful day for Murphy, for the Eaglet and for everyone associated with the World Bird Sanctuary,” said Roger Holloway, Executive Director, World Bird Sanctuary. “We firmly believe that Murphy’s exceptional care, attention and nurturing has equipped this young eagle with the necessary skills to thrive in his new community here along the Mississippi.”

Captivating video footage of the release is available for download here (video credit: World Bird Sanctuary).

Additionally, The World Bird Sanctuary unveiled a significant campaign to raise funds for a new foster center which will enhance the Sanctuary’s hospital in honor of Murphy, the orphaned eaglet and Murphy’s Rock.

The commissioning of the new foster center represents an important milestone for the World Bird Sanctuary. With enhanced resources and capacity, the center will empower the Sanctuary’s hospital to provide sustained and scaled support to the avian residents, ensuring their well-being and rehabilitation for years to come. For those interested in contributing to the campaign, please go to

About Murphy the Bald Eagle, his Rock & Eaglet 23-126

Murphy’s story began when the 31-year-old male eagle decided to incubate a rock in his enclosure at the World Bird Sanctuary (WBS) this spring. Due to an injury in his youth, Murphy can’t fly, but he can walk and hop to low perches in his aviary. He used those skills to defend his rock fiercely from the other resident eagles, just as an eagle would defend its eggs in a nest.

Murphy’s hormonal, nesting season surge would have ordinarily subsided after a few weeks, but an orphan bald eagle chick arrived at the Sanctuary about three weeks later. The eaglet was about two weeks old, young enough to imprint on an adult eagle. But Murphy had never formed a pair bond with either of the females in the eagle aviary, never built a nest or raised young. Staff had to answer: “Could he be a foster dad?”

The Sanctuary staff introduced Murphy to the eaglet carefully. They put the chick in a small, heated cage in an enclosure with Murphy. Murphy investigated and began feeding the eaglet through the bars of the cage. The WBS staff released the eaglet from his small cage. Murphy instantly took to his new role as foster dad and began watching over the baby and teaching him how to grow to be an adult eagle.

About The World Bird Sanctuary

The World Bird Sanctuary was founded in 1977 to provide care for sick or injured raptors. As the Sanctuary grew, so did our mission. Now located on 305 acres of Missouri hardwood forest, World Bird Sanctuary is home to over 200 animals representing over 60 species from all around the world. What began as a small rehabilitation center has grown into an internationally renowned rehabilitation, education, and conservation organization. To learn more, please visit

For more information, contact:

Patrick Barry

314-540-3865 / [email protected]

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SOURCE World Bird Sanctuary

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