A rare trio of bald eagles consisting of two males and one female are raising their own trio of chicks in a nest by the Mississippi River.
According to the Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge, which hosts a livestream of the unique family, has named the two fathers Valor I and Valor II, and named the mother Starr.
The refuge said the birds each “take part in nest maintenance, incubation and raising the young.”
The National Audubon Society says they have only been able to document three such trios in the species.
The first documentation took place in Alaska in 1977, the second in Minnesota in 1983 and the third in California in 1992.
But the Audubon Society notes that this particular case is different because both of the male eagles are copulating with the female.
Typically, the second father has acted as a sort of live-in nanny in similar cases.
According to the nonprofit, prior to Valor II’s arrival, the nest was a place of much disorder. It has also reportedly been two years since the two dads lost their initial partner, Hope.
Audubon said that Valor I “wasn’t a very good partner or father” for Hope when they first began nesting.
He was said to have had trouble “incubating the eggs and feeding the eaglets, which were really his only two jobs.”
Bald Eagle Trio Paired for Life? A nesting trio is a rare occurrence among bald eagles, but this is not the first such case. A bald eagle nesting trios was documented in California in 1992. https://t.co/dB0fTp2hkZ pic.twitter.com/HnXZboY1pu
— Tuleyome (@tuleyomeorg) March 10, 2019
“Normally they will switch roles, but what happened was Hope would sit on the nest for a long, long time,” Pam Steinhaus, who serves as the refuge’s visitor services manager, told Audubon. “Valor I would never bring food in, so she’d have to get up and leave to hunt.”
“So he got replaced,” Steinhaus said.
Valor II eventually moved later into the nest but Valor I would stay. The trio had begun nesting cooperatively by 2016, according to the Audubon.
But in March 2017, the trio’s nest was attacked a pair of other adult eagles. The refuge said their livecam of the nest even captured a video of the brawl that showed “two adult eagles battling on the ground in a desperate talon clinching struggle.”
The two dads survived but Hope reportedly vanished after the attack.
The dads reportedly raised their eaglets shared with Hope together after her disappearance.
After the eaglets fledged in May, the dads joined up with Starr, who has since laid three more eggs that hatched last month.
Watch the live feed, below: