A Steller sea eagle has escaped from the Nationwide Aviary in Pittsburgh and continues to be at giant
A Steller sea eagle escaped from its enclosure at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh last Saturday, and despite the valiant efforts of the aviary staff and numerous sightings in the neighborhood posted on social media, Kodiak – Kody to his friends – still on the loose and we’re all a little worried about him, to be perfectly honest.
This bird is hard to miss: it’s large (although we probably wouldn’t call it a “giant” in Pittsburgh because the “Giant Eagle” is a food chain here) with a yellow beak, white tail, and white feathers on its wings. It is larger than a bald eagle and has a wingspan of about six feet. Kody has been spotted in and around the Pittsburgh neighborhood where the Aviary is located, which seems like a good thing. But it was hard to catch because you can’t just throw a net over it and call it a day, as licensed falconer Richard Lawson told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; a special (and obviously humane) trap will be necessary.
The Steller’s white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus) usually weighs between 13 and 20 pounds and stands about four feet tall. There are no natural enemies according to the aviary, but Kody has lived in captivity for 15 of his 16 years so he can be a little rusty with the whole hunt / prey thing. Steller’s sea eagles eat fish and more fish, “eaten mammals” (ew) and even other birds “when fish is scarce”. And in case you were wondering, they are named after the German naturalist Georg W. Steller, who met the birds on a visit to Alaska in 1741.
The Aviary posted updates on social media and got temptingly close to getting Kody, but they’ve escaped them so far. I was half hoping that Kody could make a majestic appearance at the Steelers game last Sunday, with Heinz Field not far from the aviary and the team at home against the Bengals (we won’t be talking about that game) today though ). Unfortunately he didn’t.
On Thursday, aviary animal care experts camped to monitor his roost in a tall tree in the city’s North Park and they confirmed he was in good condition. They tried to lure him with some food, but he didn’t come down. But look at this pretty, pretty boi:
A lot of people – including me before I moved to Pittsburgh a thousand years ago – don’t know what a hidden gem the National Aviary is or that it is in Pittsburgh. Your penguins are usually the big celebrities (hi, this is Pittsburgh), but they also have very cute – and very large – owls, eagles, flamingos, hawks, and canaries, along with other birds. You can sign up for educational “animal encounters” with many birds – I remember visiting them when my son was little; We sat in a big auditorium that had some birds of prey flying around and we got like a popsicle with some food on it (I’d prefer not to think about what the food actually was) and you held it up to one of the birds rushed to eat it. Extremely great.
If you’re in Pittsburgh and see Kody, call the National Aviary at 412-323-7235. Do not try to approach him, you run the risk of deterring him. And when the Aviary team shows up, avoid them. You want to get him home safely.