Steller’s Sea Eagle soars into life at Denver Zoo

Steller's Sea Eagle

Denver Zoo has announced the hatching of its second ever Steller’s sea eagle on March 10. These birds are incredibly rare in American zoos.

The as yet un-named chick received its first health chick from vets this week. During this exam it also received its West Nile virus vaccination. It was one of the first times keeper had seen the chick. Until recently they had been viewing it through closed-circuit TV. At this point the chick cannot fly as it has not fledged meaning its parents still need to bring it food.Steller's Sea Eagle

Visitors may catch a small glimpse of the chick which is sitting in its nest outside of BirdWorld presented by Frontier Airlines.

Only a few American zoos exhibit and bred the Steller’s sea eagle. Denver Zoo is one of only a few which have enough space for these eagles which may weigh up to 7.5kg (16lb) making them the world’s largest eagle. They also require colder climates which matches their natural home of the western, coastal area of Northern Russia.

Due to their remote range few studies have been conducted into the species natural behaviours.

For mother, Ursula and father, Vlad this is their second chick. Ursula is a 10 year old who hatched at Cincinnati Zoo in April 2005 arriving in Denver during February 2006. Vlad came to the zoo in November 2008 from Birdpark Avifauna in the Netherlands where he hatched during April 2007.

Steller's Sea EagleThe zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) which helps to maintain genetic diversity and health in the captive population. These birds are ‘vulnerable’ to extinction in the wild with just 4,600-5,000 remaining. Numbers are dropping as a result of habitat destruction, pollution, logging and overfishing depleting their food.

Georg Wilhelm Steller discovered them during an Alaskan voyage in 1741.

Photo Credit: Denver Zoo

By Cale Russell is a testament to Cale’s commitment to the education of people around the world on the topic of animals and conservation, through the sharing of topical and newsworthy information.

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