Mother Bird Saved Chicks in Yellowstone Fire-Fiction

The Mother Bird That Saved Her Chicks by Covering Them With Her Body in the Yellowstone Fires-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:
A forest ranger in Yellowstone finds a bird carcass after a fire, knocks it over, and out runs three baby chicks that were protected by the mother bird’s sacrifice of her own life.  The bird is described as having known that there would be toxic smoke higher in the trees, but took her chicks to the base of a tree where she covered them with her wings and saved their lives.

The Truth: 
A wonderful story, especially when tied to a wonderful Bible verse, but both The National Geographic Society and officials at Yellowstone Park say it never happened. has searched an index for National Geographic, but did not find the story.  Additionally, a representative of the National Geographic Society, L.T. Walker, says that while they get questions about the mother bird tale, it has never appeared in the pages of National Geographic.   Both Phil Perkins, the Fire Management Officer at Yellowstone, and Terry MacEneany, the park’s bird expert, have been on staff for many years, including during the well known 1988 fires.  They have both confirmed that the mother bird story is fiction.  MacEneany says he wrote an article for National Geographic about some osprey that were affected by the fires and he suspects that’s where the legend may have gotten started.  Yellowstone rangers discovered some fledgling ospreys that had fallen out of their nest when the fire burned their tree.  They fell into an area where the adult osprey couldn’t get to them to feed them so MacEneany supervised the construction of a platform to elevate a new nest.