A Stellar Sea Eagle from Asia who is thousands of miles away from home has been traveling around North America for more than a year.
The lost eagle: The sea eagle, whose species is native to Japan, Korea, China and Russia, was first seen in the summer of 2020 in Alaska and last spotted two weeks ago along the Taunton River in Massachusetts, reported NPR.
According to a Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Facebook post, it weighs up to 20 pounds and has a wingspan of up to 8 feet, making it one of the largest raptors in the world.
Last month, it was also spotted in Texas and in Nova Scotia on Canada’s east coast. The eagle has a distinctive white marking on its wings with large white tail feathers, reported Smithsonian.
It is possible for birds to experience vagrancy — or to lose a sense of direction — when they stray out of range of their normal habitat, potentially due to climate change effects or a navigational error. But according to Alex Lees via NPR, an avian vagrancy expert at Manchester Metropolitan University, this particular eagle likely experienced “a failure to switch off the instinct to disperse or a failure of its navigatory apparatus.”
“It may be doomed to perpetually wander in search of a member of its own species, remaining in suitable areas for months perhaps, but the urge to wander to find a mate may drive it to keep moving,” he added. “It is still possible that this individual may find its way back, but the longer it stays the less likely this seems.”
“It’s like an avian soap opera,” Lees told Smithsonian. “We’re all rooting for it. Will it make it home? Or is it doomed to never see another species of its own in its lifetime?”
Featured Image via Ray H
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