How do you lose something that big?

Stellar's sea eagle

Photo of Nikita the Stellar’s Sea Eagle by Hawk Experience.

A Stellar’s sea eagle called Nikita has gone missing in the Yorkshire Dales in England.

The female bird, which is one of the world’s largest bird of prey species with a wingspan of 2.4 metres (8ft), went missing from her home at the Hawk Experience in Settle on Saturday. Her trainer, Chris O’Donnel, said that while she could have travelled a vast distance in the interim, he believes she’s only likely to be a few miles away.

“It’s a very tame bird,” he said. “You could walk up to her and almost pet her if you wanted to. It will be sitting in a field wishing it was back home.”

Mr O’Donnel said that they fly birds every day, and don’t get too concerned if one goes missing for a short period of time. They can often track birds with radio transmitters, but a bird the size of Nikita can pull a transmitter off in seconds, he said.

North Yorkshire police are advising people to keep their pets indoors until the massive eagle has been relocated.

While Nikita could easily make the trip from Yorkshire to Ireland, it’s highly unlikely she’ll be making it onto anyone’s Birdwatch Ireland Garden Bird Survey list. But don’t forget to look up every now and then! You really never know what you might see….

About Calvin Jones

Calvin Jones is a freelance writer, author, birder and lifelong wildlife enthusiast. He is founder and managing editor of He is also the tour leader and wildlife guide on our West Cork based Discover Wildlife tours.
Calvin is also co-author of bestselling digital marketing titles and offers digital business consulting services and training through Digital Marketing Success


  1. I am 99% sure i have seen this Bird today in ireland .

    • Hi Cambo. I think it’s unlikely to be the same bird, but you never know.

      How good a look did you get? In silhouette a white-tailed eagle (recently reintroduced here) would look superficially similar. If you got a good look at it though that black and white plumage, huge bulk and enormous bill are diagnostic for the Stellar’s sea eagle. Certainly an escaped bird, if it was one.

      If you’re sure, then it’s probably a good idea to report the sighting — not sure where is best really — either your local garda station or through the Golden Eagle Trust perhaps, who look after the official bird of prey reintroduction programmes — they should be able to point you in the right direction.

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