A Roving Steller’s Sea Eagle

Steller’s Sea Eagle; Photo Credit: Lim Yangmook


There’s been a lot of excitement about a Steller’s Sea Eagle that’s been roving around the US. This enormous eagle – which is larger than our Bald Eagle – is a native of the Russia Far East, Japan, and Korea. First seen in North America last year in Alaska and Saskatchewan, then Texas, now the bird is in Maine. But while birders in the Americas are getting amazing views of this very large and exotic eagle, what does the future hold for this Steller’s Eagle?

Sometimes birds just get lost, or are blown to new areas in a storm. Some may be exploring. The Steller’s Sea Eagle is listed by the IUCN as Vulnerable – meaning it is threatened with extinction unless the circumstances that are threatening its survival and reproduction improve. Steller’s Sea Eagles have a lot of company in the Vulnerable listing. There are 773 birds listed globally as Vulnerable – including in North America, Horned Grebes and our beloved Atlantic Puffins. So, if this bird is looking for a mate, it is highly unlikely one will be available if a return to Asia doesn’t come to pass, making this one less bird which will add to the species population. So far, the sea eagle (it’s unclear whether this is a male or female) is seen hanging out with other fish-eating birds like Bald Eagles, which while smaller, are one of the few North American birds that come close to this bird in size and habits. So what does this mean to the bird and for the species? To learn more check out this Smithsonian article.