LIHUE, Hawaii – A threatened eagle native to coastal Europe and northern Asia has made a surprise appearance on Kauai.
“This is history in the making,” said Brenda Zaun, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who confirmed sightings of the white-tailed eagle.
While the visit is rare, it isn’t unheard of to see the species outside of its range covering Norway, Iceland, Poland and Greece, as well as Siberia and northern Asia.
One was spotted in Alaska in 2006 and another eagle lived on Kauai for 17 years until it was reportedly killed by a helicopter, Zaun said.
The massive bird can grow to a wing span of 8 feet and dines primarily on fish and seabirds.
While believed by some ornithologist to have been hunted in the early 20th century for its feathers and eggs, the eagle’s population is now most troubled by toxic pollutants and collisions with trains and power lines.
Zaun said she thinks Kauai’s eagle has been on the island since December and probably arrived looking for food and rest.