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Nest Cam Shows Peregrine Falcon Feeding Young With Its Three Dead Chicks

May 15, 2016 10:07 AM EDT
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Viewers of different nest cams in the United States have been treated to quite some unusual scenes lately. Last month, people were shocked to see bald eagle parents feed a dead cat to its eaglets.

Now, viewers were again reminded that nature is not always gentle or pretty. A nest cam atop the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh showed a peregrine falcon parent feed its three dead chicks to its only surviving young.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that everything seemed normal at first when the first egg hatched. However, when the second egg hatched, the mother falcon named Hope fed that chick to the first offspring.

It wasn't the only cringe-worthy scene. "[Then] the third died, and she fed that to the first chick. When the fourth was beginning to hatch, she essentially killed it before it could fully hatch, ate part of it and fed the rest to the surviving chick," said Bob Mulvihill, an ornithologist at the National Aviary.

This kind of behavior has been puzzling people looking out for the falcons, adding that this attitude is strange.

Peregrine falcon coordinator for the state's Game Commission said this "bizarre" behavior is unlike anything they've ever seen and observed.

Thousands have watched the infanticide over the livestream, CBS reported. Followers of a famous peregrine blog titled "Birds Outside My Window" were horrified, as reported by Post-Gazette. The blog's owner said a few wanted to intervene, as they cannot really understand what was happening in "human terms."

Several speculations from viewers have also been cooked up. One, in particular, is that the male falcon may not be providing enough for the family. However, Mulvihill said there was no evidence to support that theory.

These nest cams may not always show pleasant scenery, but there is no doubt that they are educational -- may it be a little upsetting and surprising at times.

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