Staff at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, are rejoicing following the successful recovery of Kodiak—a Steller’s sea eagle who escaped from his enclosure in late September.
“Kodiak the Steller’s Sea Eagle is home safe,” the National Aviary tweeted late yesterday evening.
What a relief.
Kody, as he’s affectionately called, escaped from his enclosure on Saturday, September 25. The Steller’s sea eagle spent his time between North Park, Riverview Park, and areas in the city’s north side, where he was spotted numerous times by the public. Indeed, the bird, with its bright yellow beak, black and white plumage, and 6-foot-wide wingspan, stood out clearly in the urban landscape.
Multiple rescue teams were dispatched to find and recover the eagle, a species native to coastal northeastern Asia. Kody was nearly caught on Friday morning after being spotted roosting atop a tall tree. Experts set up camp below and laid out food in hopes of luring the bird, but Kodiak would have none of it, choosing instead to fly away.
On Sunday, October 3, a National Aviary team spotted Kody at a residence in Pine Township following reports of the bird loitering nearby. Using “professional falconry techniques and equipment,” the team was “able to safely retrieve Kody and bring him back home,” according to a National Aviary tweet. Apparently this entails a large net and running towards the eagle as quickly as possible.
“Kodiak recognized one of his caregivers who was able to maintain eye contact with the bird, as a team of trained aviculturists used soft netting to safely hold Kody’s position,” according to a National Aviary press release. “Additional soft netting and a towel were used to ensure the safety of both Kody and the aviculturists working to bring him home.”
A preliminary veterinary exam suggests Kody is in “excellent health and body condition.” He’s been feasting on fresh meat and resting in an area not accessible to visitors. Visitors will have to wait a few weeks before seeing Kodiak in his enclosure “due to supply delays for materials used for his habitat repairs,” the National Aviary said. His new-and-improved habitat will include stronger materials for the roof and an additional net. Officials with the aviary said they’ll likely never know how the hole ended up in his enclosure. The National Aviary is scheduled to re-open to the public on Thursday October 7.
“The entire team at the National Aviary is extremely relieved to have Kody back, and would like to share our gratitude to the community of supporters who helped in these efforts,” the aviary tweeted.
This post was updated to include the video of Kody’s capture and information provided in the National Aviary press release.