Ontario Provincial Police are on the hunt for suspects following the theft of a large bird of prey from an aviary about 75 kilometres west of Toronto.

Staff at Hawkeye Bird & Animal Control said a female golden eagle named Riff-Raff was stolen from their facility near Acton, Ont., sometime between Jan. 27 and Jan. 28.

Riff-Raff is between three and five years old, weighs about 13 pounds, and stands about two-and-a-half feet tall. The eagle is described as brown with white flecks.

Riff-Raff’s owners said the bird is worth about $15,000. Hawkeye’s Operations Manager, Janet Michaud, said whoever pulled off the heist took a considerable risk.

“(I’m) absolutely shocked because she is a very large bird, not very friendly, (and) can be aggressive to people that she doesn’t know,” she told CTV Kitchener on Tuesday. “They are not a bird that just anyone can have.”

She said whoever removed Riff-Raff from the enclosure likely had knowledge of large birds.

“You definitely would have had to have some kind of experience to handle the bird. She was just free-flying in her kennel . . . so very difficult to catch, very sharp talons and beak. They can cause a lot of damage,” Michaud said.

Hawkeye Bird & Animal Control uses Riff-Raff as a show and demonstration bird for falconry and educational visits, as well as video and film production.

If the bird is on the loose, Michaud said it is unlikely people will get close enough to Riff-Raff to be in danger. But she warned eagles can pose a risk to pets.

“A large bird would of course go after small dogs if they are hungry. Cats, rodents, things like that for food to survive,” she said.

Michaud asks that anyone with information about Riff-Raff’s whereabouts contact Hawkeye Bird & Animal Control, the Ontario Provincial Police, or the Ministry of Natural Resources.

With a report from CTV Kitchener’s Tina Yazdani