New Milestone Reached in Channel Islands Bald Eagle Recovery
Contact: Yvonne Menard , 805-658-5725
Today eagle enthusiasts will watch as biologists band and tag two bald eagle chicks that will soon leave their Pelican Harbor nest on Santa Cruz Island, off the coast of southern California.
On neighboring Santa Rosa Island, a milestone is reached as two bald eagle chicks have hatched in nests on that island for the first time in over 60 years. A record number of successful bald eagle nests is being celebrated this breeding season on the Channel Islands.
There are six bald eagle chicks expected to fledge, or leave the nest, in the next few weeks on the northern Channel Islands. They will bring the number of bald eagles on northern islands to about 40 birds.
During today’s live event biologists will band the birds, attach wing tags and radio and satellite transmitters, and conduct health checks. Hundreds of eagle fans are expected to watch the event live via the Channel Islands Live Bald Eagle Webcam at: http://www.nps.gov/chis/photosmultimedia/bald-eagle-webcam.htm.
The 2010 breeding season resulted in four nests and four chicks on Santa Cruz Island, two nests each with one chick on Santa Rosa Island, and seven nests with nine chicks on Santa Catalina Island (part of the southern Channel Islands).
“We are cautiously optimistic about this trend of bald eagle recovery as the chemicals that contributed to their decline persist in the southern California marine ecosystem,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biologist Annie Little. “We hope for a self-sustaining population and a return to historic levels of bald eagle nests on the northern Channel Islands.”
“Southern Californians can be proud to know that just in this past decade they are seeing recovery of bald eagles to nearly half the historic population on the Channel Islands following their significant decline in the 1960s,” said Russell Galipeau, Superintendent of Channel Islands National Park.
History of Recovery
Prior to 2006, the last known successful nesting of a bald eagle on the northern Channel Islands was in 1950 on Santa Rosa Island. Bald eagles disappeared from the Channel Islands by the early 1960s, due to human impacts, primarily DDT and PCB contamination. The effects of these chemicals are magnified in the food chain, causing bald eagles to lay thin- shelled eggs that either dehydrate or break in the nest.
A Partnership for Bald Eagle Recovery
The National Park Service and The Nature Conservancy, co-owners of Santa Cruz Island, continue to partner to protect and restore the island ecosystem. The Pelican Harbor nest is on The Nature Conservancy property. For more information visit: www.nature.org/eagles.
For media visit: http://www.nps.gov/chis/photosmultimedia/bald-eagle-archives.htm
Did You Know?
The world's most complete pygmy mammoth specimen was discovered on Santa Rosa Island in 1994. These miniature mammoths, only four to six feet tall, once roamed island grasslands and forests during the Pleistocene.