KODIAK™ IS HOME: National Aviary Announces the Safe Return of Beloved Steller’s Sea Eagle

KODIAK IS HOME: National Aviary Announces the Safe Return of Beloved Steller’s Sea Eagle

Aviary officials report Kodiak is in good health and comfortable, share details of recovery efforts and gratitude for community support

National Aviary officials this morning announced that Kodiak, or Kody, the Steller’s Sea Eagle, has safely returned to the National Aviary, where he has thrived for 15 years. National Aviary staff and volunteers worked tirelessly to bring Kody back home after he got out through a gap in the heavy gauge wire roof of his habitat last Saturday. Kody was recovered from a residence in Pine Township late Sunday afternoon and is doing well.

“Since Saturday, September 25, our team has worked tirelessly towards this moment when we can finally say that Kodiak is home safe and sound,” said Cheryl Tracy, Executive Director of the National Aviary. “We are relieved and elated that Kody is in good health, and we have immense gratitude for the support we have received from our community during this stressful time. Your sightings and well wishes were invaluable in our efforts, and we are so appreciative.”

Kodiak initially stayed close to Pittsburgh’s Northside before gradually traveling further north, where he found green spaces to rest. Hundreds of phone calls from community members assisted the National Aviary’s team in locating Kody. A tip from a homeowner Sunday afternoon led the team to a residence in Pine Township. Kodiak recognized one of his caregivers who was able to maintain eye contact with the bird, as a team of trained aviculturists used soft netting to safely hold Kody’s position. Additional soft netting and a towel were used to ensure the safety of both Kody and the aviculturists working to bring him home.

“Kodiak is so beloved by the National Aviary’s staff, volunteers, and visitors, and we are so relieved that he is back home where he has thrived for 15 years. He is resting and eating well—a sign that he is relaxed and comfortable,” said Cathy Schlott, Director of Animal Programs and Experiences at the National Aviary. “Kody has a trusting relationship with his caregivers, and that relationship helped our team immensely in the effort to bring him back home.”

Now back at the National Aviary, Kodiak is resting in a comfortable habitat behind the scenes. He received an initial visual exam upon his return from Dr. Pilar Fish, the National Aviary’s Senior Director of Zoological Advancement and Avian Medicine, who found that Kody is in good health.

It will be several weeks before visitors will be able to see Kody at the National Aviary due to supply delays for materials used for his habitat repairs. Kody is in a comfortable space behind the scenes while the National Aviary makes repairs to his usual habitat. Repairs will include an even stronger material for the roof and an additional net for added safety. All of the habitats at the National Aviary are designed with the comfort and safety of the birds as the highest priority, and this is the first time an incident of this nature has occurred.  It is still unclear how Kodiak was able to get out of his habitat, and we may not have additional information. The entire team is incredibly relieved and grateful for Kody’s safe return, and his welfare continues to be our unwavering focus.

The National Aviary will reopen to the public on Thursday, October 7. The Aviary will be closed until then to allow the staff time for rest and recover following this exhaustive effort to bring Kody home safely.

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