Sustainability Environment

Rare eagle native to Asia is sticking around Maine, baffling birdwatchers

(Zachary Holderby, Downeast Audubon via Associated Press)

Story at a glance

  • The Steller’s sea eagle was first seen in Maine in late December.
  • The eagle is native to northeastern Asia but has remained in the area.
  • With a wingspan of 8 feet and weighing 15 lbs., there are only believed to be about 4,000 Steller’s sea eagles worldwide.

A rare species of eagle that was spotted in Maine has shown no signs of leaving.  

The Steller’s sea eagle was first seen in Maine in late December and has continued to frequent the area.  

Birdwatchers have been drawn to Maine to catch a glimpse of the sea eagle, which feasts on fish and ducks.  

“I took my mom with me, too, who isn’t a birder, but heard the story about the eagle and wanted to see it,” Allison Black, a birdwatcher from Connecticut, told The Associated Press (AP). 


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With a wingspan of 8 feet and weighing about 15 pounds, the bird is considered rare, as there are only believed to be about 4,000 Steller’s sea eagles worldwide. How the sea eagle ended up in Maine is up for speculation, as it’s native to northeastern Asia, according to Doug Hitchcox, staff naturalist at Maine Audubon. But it shows no signs of leaving. 

“This one is so far off course, it’s just purely speculation to say it could go back and then return. There is no reason it couldn’t make its way back to Japan or Russia,” Hitchcox told the AP. “It seems to be doing OK.” 


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