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Romance in the air at the National Aviary as new Steller's Sea Eagle arrives

Meeting the New Steller's Sea Eagle at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh
Meeting the New Steller's Sea Eagle at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh 02:18

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - She's big, she's beautiful and she's the newest resident at Pittsburgh's National Aviary.

Cathy Schlott, the director of animal programs and experiences at the aviary, says the 10-year-old Steller's Sea Eagle is doing quite well in her new home. She also said that this young lady was largely brought here for a … romantic reason, shall we say?

"The National Aviary is a zoo, and we work with other accredited zoos," Schlott explained. "We got her from a breeding program that was established at another zoo. So she came over here to be a mate with Kodiak so we can help be part of that breeding program in the future."

Kodiak, aka Kody for short, has lived at the aviary for 17 years. The hope is that these two will take a fancy to one another and possibly make a few chicks.

This of course would help to preserve the species that is found throughout the wild in cold climates from Russia to Alaska. Steller's Sea Eagles are vulnerable to extinction due to things like hunting, habitat loss, and climate change, so a few offspring would be a good thing.

Schlott says that these two are in the courtship stage right now. And while staff here at the aviary are waiting to see if these two birds of a feather will get together, they say this lady needs a name and there are actually four potential names that the public can help choose from.

"We have Aurora, named for the aurora borealis for the northern lights," says Schlott. "We have Juneau, a city in Alaska. We have Sitka, which is also a city in Alaska and it is named after one of the islands that's near the Kodiak Island. That's where Kodiak got his name. And we have Stella, short for Steller's Sea Eagle."

Voting can be done on the National Aviary's website with a $5 donation and the winning name will be announced at the end of the month. 

No matter what the name of this regal eagle ultimately is, the hope is that she will be happy here in Pittsburgh and that she and Kody will continue to be ambassadors for their species, and hopefully, so will their offspring. 

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