the ethical bird

I Love and Respect This Bald Eagle Throuple

Photo: Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge

Last year, New York’s Central Park was torn apart by some high-stakes avian drama: a female hawk returned from rehab only to find that her longtime partner had shacked up (nested up?) with a new mistress. “The three of them flew around each other screaming,” one witness said, at the time. “It was chaos.” Perhaps their troubles could’ve been solved, though, if they’d chosen to look past the traditional constraints of monogamy and embrace a different lifestyle. Yes, reader: a bird throuple.

According to the Audubon Society, that very much exists. They report that a trio of bald eagles — two males and one female — are living and raising chicks together on at the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge in Illinois.

The males, named Valor I and Valor II, have a long history together. Valor I used to have a mate named Hope, but he quickly proved to be a lazy dad and a shitty hunter. Valor II worked his way into the relationship around 2013 and took over main partnership duties, like mating and hunting, though Valor I still hung around. Hope is believed to have died in a fight with two stranger eagles in March 2017, but Valor I and II both stayed at the nest and raised their remaining eaglets, who were likely all fathered by Valor II.

In September 2017, a new female eagle named Starr joined their nest, and three of their new eggs hatched in April. And they’ve all apparently been having fun together this time around:

Refuge biologists don’t know for sure whether Valor I and Valor II have both fathered eaglets in this case, but based on the mating they’ve observed, the odds are good.

Nice. Now does anyone know if the Hot Duck is poly?

I Love and Respect This Bald Eagle Throuple