PITTSBURGH (AP) - Cat lovers may be less inclined to view an online livestream of a family of bald eagles in Pittsburgh after the webcam showed two adult eagles feeding a feline to their eaglets.
Viewers on Tuesday saw the adult eagles bring a cat to the nest for the two youngsters.
Some viewers were disturbed that the image was caught on camera, but Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania spokeswoman Rachel Handel tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the feeding behavior was perfectly normal. She also wrote on Facebook that "the eagles bring squirrels, rabbits, fish (and other animals) into the next to eat multiple times each day."
"We've received a number of questions about the Hays Bald Eagles bringing a cat into the nest yesterday. It's true that they brought in a cat and it's also true that they fed it to the eaglets. After reviewing the footage, we believe that the cat was dead when brought to the nest. While many may cringe at this, the eagles bring squirrels, rabbits, fish (and other animals) into the nest to eat multiple times each day. To people, the cat represents a pet but to the eagles and to other raptors, the cat is a way to sustain the eaglets and help them to grow. At Audubon, we encourage people to keep cats indoors for many reasons--primarily because cats themselves eat many, many songbirds. While seeing a cat in the nest was difficult for many, we're hopeful that people will understand that this is a part of nature, and nature isn't always kind or pretty."
Handel says the group couldn't determine if the cat was a pet or feral.
LINK: Watch the live eagle cam