by Elizabeth Gamillo/Smithsonianmag.com
A rogue Steller’s sea eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus) has captivated birders once again as it soars eastward thousands of miles away from its home in Asia. The raptor was recently spotted in Nova Scotia on Canada’s east coast on November 3, reports Marion Renault for the New York Times.
The sea eagle, native to Asia—specifically China, Japan, Korea, and Eastern Russia—has been spotted thousands of miles away from its range in places as far south as Texas and as far North as Alaska, reports Vernon Ramesar for CBC News. The bird was first spotted in the United States on Alaska’s Denali highway, about 4,700 miles away from its native range, in August 2020. In July 2021, the eagle was spotted in New Brunswick and Quebec, Canada. The first sighting in Nova Scotia was reported by Phil Taylor, a biologist at Acadia University, while scanning for ducks in Falmouth, Nova Scotia, reports the New York Times.
The bird’s distinctive, yellow beak, unique white patterning on its wings, and large white tail feathers are easily identifiable and Taylor recognized the eagle perched in the mud right away.