For an Alaska black bear looking to get some rest, this bald eagle nest was just right.
The nest napper was spotted high up in a tree at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, a military base in Anchorage, during a US Fish and Wildlife Service eagle nest survey on July 17. The agency shared a photo of the storybook-esque scene on Facebook a few days later.
“At first, my mind was trying to make it into a baby eagle ... perhaps with its wings spread or something,” USFWS biologist Steve Lewis told McClatchy News on Thursday. “Then I realised it was a small bear sleeping there.”
The nest was about six feet wide, he added.
As cute as the image is, bears in eagle nests can spell bad news for the birds. The wildlife service noted in its Facebook post that black bears have been known to raid bald eagle nests, resulting in the death of young birds.
This particular bear, however, is probably innocent. Lewis said he suspects that the nest had “failed” way back in the spring, before the bear found it.
It’s not totally clear why the bear chose that spot for a snooze. Sometimes bears are attracted to the smells of old and uneaten food, like fish, that can linger in nests. It’s also possible that the bear came across the nest by chance and thought it looked comfortable, Lewis told Live Science.
“It could have just happened to climb the tree and decided to take a nap,” he said.