100th Bald Eagle Expected to Fledge on the Channel Islands— Record Season Since Restoration Began with 20 Nests Anticipated

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Date: March 17, 2015
Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725

The 100th bald eagle is expected to naturally hatch and fledge on the California Channel Islands this spring following efforts to reestablish the birds after their disappearance from the islands by 1960.

The first bald eagle to hatch unaided by humans in more than 50 years on the Channel Islands occurred in March 2006 on Santa Cruz Island. Since then bald eagle recovery has been steady.

Today, there are about 50 bald eagles living on the Channel Islands as a result of multi-agency restoration actions including intensive efforts on the northern Channel Islands from 2002 to 2006 during which 61 eagles were released.

There could be a record 20 active bald eagle nests in this year's breeding season. There are already seven nests on Santa Catalina Island, six on Santa Cruz Island, and two on Santa Rosa Island with biologists watching at least five other pairs that will likely nest.

The first chick to hatch this season was at the Malva Real nest on Santa Cruz Island. It set a record during the last week of February for the earliest known hatching on the islands. Bald eagle pairs are incubating eggs at 14 other active nests.

Another island record is set this year with the oldest confirmed breeding bald eagle female, K-17 at Twin Rocks on Santa Catalina Island. She is 30 years old and has been breeding at this site for 18 years. She is with her second mate.

To celebrate these restoration landmarks, the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program (MSRP) is hosting a contest to name the 100th bald eagle chick that will fledge from the Channel Islands. Visit montroserestoration.noaa.gov or the MSRP Facebook page.

You can watch the bald eagle chicks develop this breeding season via three live bald eagle webcams. Biologists and the public can track and learn about their behavior on a bald eagle discussion forum. To view the webcams visitiws.org. Join the bald eagle discussion forum.

The bald eagle recovery was part of a multi-year program to help restore naturally functioning island ecosystems across the Channel Islands. It included efforts to save the endangered island fox, relocate golden eagles, reestablish bald eagles to their historic territories, and eradicate nonnative pigs that had attracted golden eagles which preyed on the island fox.

Partners in Restoration

MSRP, a multi-agency program dedicated to restoring natural resources harmed by DDTs and PCBs released into the environment in southern California, funds bald eagle restoration efforts. MSRP is overseen by representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California State Lands Commission, and California Department of Parks and Recreation. For further information: montroserestoration.noaa.gov

The Institute for Wildlife Studies, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of wildlife species, is involved in conservation projects around the world. IWS has conducted bald eagle restoration on Catalina Island for over 50 years. iws.org

Land owners that support restoration efforts include the National Park Service (NPS) as the manager on five of the eight California Channel Islands, The Nature Conservancy who jointly owns and manages Santa Cruz Island with the NPS, the Catalina Island Conservancy for Santa Catalina Island, and the U.S. Navy on San Clemente Island.

To view a bald eagle restoration video and images: https://www.nps.gov/chis/learn/photosmultimedia/bald-eagle-archives.htm

Last updated: March 17, 2015

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