According to Alaskan villagers in Togiak and Manokotak, a huge bird with a 14 foot wingspan has them horribly frightened. Scientists aren't sure what to make of the reports. No one doubts that people in the region west of Dillingham have seen a very large raptor, but biologists and other people familiar with big Alaska birds say they're skeptical it's that big. Some think that the bird is a Steller's Sea Eagle, a species indigenous to Japan that may have flown to Alaska. The Steller's is a large bird, but people's imaginations may be making it seem larger.

A recent sighting of the mystery bird occurred last Thursday morning when Moses Coupchiak, a 43-year-old heavy equipment operator from Togiak, 40 miles west of Manokotak, saw the bird flying toward him from about two miles away as he worked his tractor. "At first I thought it was one of those old-time Otter planes," Coupchiak said. "Instead of continuing toward me, it banked to the left, and that's when I noticed it wasn't a plane." The bird was "something huge," he said. "The wing looks a little wider than the Otter's, maybe as long as the Otter plane." The bird flew behind a hill and disappeared. Coupchiak got on the radio and warned people in Togiak to tell their children to stay away. Pilot John Bouker said he was highly skeptical of reports of "this great big eagle" that is two or three times the size of a bald eagle. "I didn't put any thought into it." But once while flying into Manokotak, Bouker, owner of Bristol Bay Air Service, looked out his left window and 1,000 feet away, "there's this big . . . bird," he said. "The people in the plane all saw him," Bouker said. "He's huge, he's huge, he's really, really big. You wouldn't want to have your children out."

The Uncoveror suspects that this is not any variety of an eagle, but in fact, the infamous Kid Eating Bird of Southern California. "When I was a little kid in San Diego, three or four years old," said Martin Baines, currently a resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, "My Aunt Lucy told me that there was a giant kid eating bird. She told me that if I did not stop crying, he would hear me, and then I would be done for. I was terrified. For what must have been two weeks, I was not able to eat or sleep normally." He told us that he was a wreck until his grandfather told him that he knew which tree the bird lived in, and would kill it. He got his shotgun and went outside with the young boy. "He's hiding up in that tree," said the kindly old grandfather,  pointing his rifle, and apparently pulled the trigger. Baines went on to tell us that his grandfather's rifle did not make a sound, but he was assured that this was because it had a silencer.

"When I was older and wiser," Baines said, "It occured to me that Aunt Lucy was just using a cruel trick to make me shut up, and Grandpa hadn't fired because there was no bird in that tree. I never thought about it again until I read about the giant bird in Alaska. The Kid Eating Bird is real! Something needs to be done about it. Think of the children. Who will protect the children?"

If the Kid Eating Bird of Southern California indeed loose in Alaska, it is a horror Martin Baines does not even want to imagine. Let us hope that it is just a Steller's Sea Eagle, and overactive imaginations.