A GIANT bird of prey - with a wing span of about 8ft - has gone missing in North Yorkshire.

The Steller’s Sea Eagle, called Nikita, went missing at about 10am on Saturday (January 25) when she was being flown by falconer Chris O’Donnell.

Mr O’Donnell trains birds of prey from his home at the base of Pen-y-Ghent in the Yorkshire Dales, to use in falconry sessions at Hawk Experience and in displays at Warwick Castle. 

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Steller’s Sea Eagles are amongst the largest birds in the world, with wing spans of six to eight foot. Her owner believes she may have gone over the top of the mountain carried along by high winds, leaving her unable to see her way home.

Mr O’Donnell said: “Eagles are designed to fly on rising currents. That’s why they live in mountainous areas. They can go for miles and miles, but most tend to have quite small territories so they don’t go that far.

“Nikita has been flying here in winter time for eight to ten years so she’s not a bird that normally flies off. We have had some incredibly high winds over the last one or two days so she may have gone over the top of Pen-y-Ghent.

“We’ve been flying all the large eagles and some big condors which would normally attract another eagle back - as they don’t want somebody else eating their lunch- but we haven’t seen hide nor hair of her. Which is why it’s starting to get a bit worrying.”

Mr O’Donnell said the bird is tame and not a danger to pets, but advises people do not attempt to pick up Nikita if they find her, due to her immense size.

Anyone with information should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, or Mr O’Donnell on 07973 617428.