The Kodiak marine agglomerates have been loose in Pittsburgh for almost a whole week, as workers from the National Aviary struggle to catch stray birds. The zoo told Gizmodo that Cody, as his nickname, was almost caught this morning and appears to have recovered.
It’s certainly a very stressful time at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The facility is home to more than 500 birds of about 150 species. In addition to taking care of many of these birds, staff are now looking for Kodiak, a stellar sea eagle Fled from his enclosure This is last Saturday, September 25th.
Aviary officials are asking the public to report seeing but have not tried or are trying to catch the bird. Stellar marine eagles, off the coast of Northeast Asia, feed mainly on fish and seabirds. (Cody is not considered a threat to pets or humans.) Cody has been attending the aviary for the past 15 years and staff are eager to get him back.
The aviary received hundreds of calls last week, and its staff is responding to only the most promising leadership, as National Aviary communications and content expert Molly Toth explained in an email. Those who see birds are asked to call 412-323-7235.
“We keep getting tips, and have seen quite a few sure scenes,” Toth said. “We believe Cody is spending time between North Park and Riverview Park and the area near Northside in Pittsburgh.”
Since last Saturday, Aviary has begun a concerted effort to find a way to bring Cody home, Toth said. “Animal care workers, volunteers, and even administrative staff are working in teams to find the code and respond to visits reported by the community.” Other staff members are staying behind to take care of other birds and animals at the aviary, as well as sight mapping, preparing snack bags for recovery teams, answering calls about visits and reaching out to the community for more help, Toth said.
The stags of the stellar sea eagles are among the largest raptor species in the world, with foot-wide wings. Nothing like this has happened before at the National Aviary, so I asked Toth how to catch a giant bird.
“Our staff can use many tactics to bring Cody home safely,” he replied. “Our staff has animal behavior skills and a deep knowledge of Cody as an individual and insights into his behavior. The techniques they use will be context-dependent and may include rewards for food and professional falconry equipment such as soft nets.
Encouragingly, or perhaps disappointingly, the team came very close to capturing Kodiak early Friday, depending on your perspective – or not at all.
Thanks to visiting Cody in the North Park area, the team was able to identify the bird’s location and they saw him “traveling to the highest point of a tall tree,” according to an emailed statement. The team, including the aviary’s executive director, set up camp and observed the agglutination throughout the night. The team confirmed that Cody is still in “excellent health and body condition”, Toth explained. The team left some food in the hope that Kodiak would fly towards them, but “unfortunately Kodiak did not come down this morning, and was last seen flying towards North Park,” according to the statement.
Oops. This may take some time.
Catching Cody will probably require a lucky situation or its own decision to return to its handlers. Or, he may avoid capture. Either way, we’ll keep an eye on this ongoing story.