Selasa, 05 April 2011

The Steller's Sea Eagle

The Steller's sea eagle is an impressive sight to see, weighing up to 20 pounds with a wingspan of 7 - 8 ft. The females are about a third larger than the males, this is true for virtually all birds of prey. This bird is actually the closest relative to the American bald eagle, although much larger. They have a giant beak that gives this bird a very distinct look. They are all brown until about age 3 when their plumage starts to change color. They get white patches on there shoulder, and legs, and their beak turns more orange. They are fully mature at the age of 5, which is average for most eagles.

These eagles are found along the north east coast of Russia and mainly feed on fish. During the winter these birds will migrate to Japan. These birds run into a big problem there because the local fisheries have depleted the waters and there are not a lot of fish. Just like bald eagles, these birds are know to scavenge and feed on carrion. The Steller's sea eagles are feeding on the remains of deer that have been shot by hunters. The problem with this is these deer and other mammals have been shot with led shot. Led shot is toxic to birds of prey and it is even a problem in the United States with the California condor. Led shot was at one point the fourth leading mortality factors for bald eagles.

Not a whole lot is known of the Steller's sea eagle. Its range is so limited that they are considered one of the rarest raptors in the world. They are not an endangered species, there just has never been a high population of these birds. I have heard different statistics, but to be conservative there is roughly five to ten thousand of these raptors in the wild. I have worked with one of these amazing birds for about 3 years now and it is an incredible raptor to handle.

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