Where is The Sea Eagle?

Steller’s sea eagle in Hokkaido, Japan, its native range (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

11 January 2022

When a bird is extremely rare, very large, nomadic, and easily recognizable it quickly becomes a celebrity. There is only one wild Steller’s sea eagle in North America(*) and wherever he goes birders flock to see him. He lingers sometimes then leaves for parts unknown. Every day the question is, Where is The Steller’s sea eagle?

Closely related to bald eagles, Steller’s sea eagles (Haliaeetus pelagicus) are the largest eagle on earth weighing up to 20 pounds with a wingspan as much as 8 feet. They breed on the coast of Far Eastern Russia and winter on the coasts of Russia and Japan.

The total population of Steller’s sea eagles is only 5,000 and they are declining. One has come to North America. Here’s his story so far.

History of the bird as of 23 Dec 2021 when last seen in Massachusetts:

Video of the bird in Maine on 31 Dec 2021:

Photographed at Boothbay Harbor, Maine on 7 Jan 2022 by John @manbythesea:

Photographed in Maine on 8 Jan 2022 by Erin @ourtravelintale:

As of 9 January the sea eagle was last seen flying away near the bridge at Southport, Maine. Today everyone’s asking “Where is The sea eagle?”

Track his Maine locations via Maine Audubon’s Rare Bird Alert Steller’s Sea Eagle or at https://linktr.ee/StellersSeaEagle or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/WanderingSTSE.

Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, 300 miles from the nearest ocean, I will probably never see this bird. I can imagine the disappointment and expense of spending a day or two flying or driving to the sea eagle’s last known location and arriving after it had left. Sigh.

(*) The closest we come to a Steller’s sea eagle in Pittsburgh is at the National Aviary. Their sea eagle, Kodiak, escaped on 25 September 2021 and was captured on 3 October. For eight days the National Aviary was definitely asking “Where’s The Sea Eagle?”

(photo of sea eagle in Japan from Wikimedia Commons; videos, tweets and Instagram embedded from original sources)

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