Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

National Aviary says escaped Steller's sea eagle might still be on the North Side

The National Aviary's Pilar Fish, doctor of veterinary medicine, speaks during a press conference on the North Shore Tuesday Sept. 28, 2021.
Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA
The National Aviary's Pilar Fish, doctor of veterinary medicine, speaks during a press conference on the North Shore Tuesday Sept. 28, 2021.

A Steller’s sea eagle named Kodiak, or “Kody,” has not been found since he escaped from the National Aviary on Saturday. Teams of avian care experts have been dispatched throughout the city with an emphasis on the North Side, where he’s been sighted.

On Tuesday, the Aviary’s Pilar Fish, a doctor of veterinary medicine, emphasized public assistance and patience while the organization searches for Kody.

“It is imperative that if you see Kody, please do not approach him because he is likely to fly away,” Fish said. “And if you see him, just hold your spot, call the Aviary, don't talk or make any loud noises.”

Steller’s sea eagles don’t need to eat every day, but Fish said Kody is a healthy bird who is capable of finding his own food. He is typically fed rodents and other small animals.

“He is a smart bird,” Fish said. “He is fit and in good condition. And so we believe that he is not at any risk of health concerns.”

Kody’s about 2 feet tall with a wingspan of 6 feet. He’s mostly brown, with some white on his tail and feet, and has a bright yellow beak. The aviary did not say how many times Kody had been sighted, but did say he was seen at Riverview Park on the North Side. It’s possible he could know to come back to the aviary, Fish said.

Kodiak the Steller's sea eagle.
National Aviary
Kodiak the Steller's sea eagle.

Fish described Kody as a generally “gentle-natured bird,” who is naturally startled when people quickly approach him. A native of Russia, Steller’s sea eagles are able to live in cold weather, but can acclimate to nearly any climate.

Residents should look for the 16-year-old bird in trees. Fish said it’s unlikely he’ll be soaring through the sky.

“The birds that we see soaring that are very large are usually vultures or red tail hawks. And he is likely to be taking short flights from tree to tree,” Fish said.

As for his escape, Fish said staff found a gap in the wire mesh of Kody’s enclosure, but video footage doesn’t show that part of the space. It’s not clear what created the gap, and the aviary said they’re focusing on recovery efforts before investigating the habitat.

Kody was hatched in another facility accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, Fish said, before he moved to Pittsburgh.

Anyone who sees him should call 412-323-7235 to share his whereabouts with the aviary.

Katie Blackley is a digital editor/producer for 90.5 WESA and 91.3 WYEP, where she writes, edits and generates both web and on-air content for features and daily broadcast. She's the producer and host of our Good Question! series and podcast. She also covers history and the LGBTQ community.