Sea Eagles’ Banquet on Ice

White-tailed eagle, Hokkaido, Japan (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

18 January 2022

On the recurring subject of sea eagles …

The Steller’s sea eagle in Maine was still near Boothbay Harbor on Tuesday 18 January 2022, as reported by @WanderingSTSE. The bird is 7,000 miles away from his native range and the only member of his species on the continent. What would his life be like if he was at home?

Steller’s sea eagles (Haliaeetus pelagicus) breed in Far Eastern Russia and migrate south for the winter but they don’t leave cold weather behind. One of their favorite winter locations is Hokkaido, Japan where floating ice provides a platform from which to fish. (Blue arrow points to Hokkaido.)

Steller’s sea eagle and range map (orange=breeding only, green=year round, blue=winter only) (images from Wikimedia Commons)

They are joined there by a smaller sea eagle, the white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) of Europe, Asia and western Greenland. White-tailed eagles are very similar to their closest relative, the bald eagle. All three are sea eagles in the genus Haliaeetus.

White-tailed eagle (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

At Hokkaido the sea eagles have a daily banquet on the ice.

p.s. 18 Jan 2022 UPDATE on the Steller’s sea eagle in Maine:

(photos from Wikimedia Commons, video by John Russell embedded from YouTube; click on the captions to see the originals)

4 thoughts on “Sea Eagles’ Banquet on Ice

  1. When we went on a cruise to Alaska, my husband and I saw Bald Eagles on the ice flows. There are so many Bald Eagles in Alaska, it’s amazing. They are as common as crows are in PA, it seems (not the Winter crow flocks, just the normal summer crow population).

  2. According to the Birding the Upper Texas Coast fb group, the first officially confirmed sighting of a Steller’s Sea Eagle in Texas occurred in March 2021 and there’s some thought that this could be the one that’s now in Maine. I don’t know any more details than that.

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