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Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725
Tomorrow biologists will celebrate a milestone when they band a bald eagle chick that is expected to be the 100th bald eagle to naturally hatch and fledge on the Channel Islands.
You can watch the banding live on Thursday, May 28 at 10:00 am PT at the West End Bald Eagle Webcam on Catalina Island.
Bald eagles had disappeared from the California Channel Islands by 1960 due primarily to DDT contaminants in the food chain.
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 as a result of multi-partner restoration actions. Since then bald eagle recovery has been steady and territories are expanding across the Channel Islands.
For the first time in nearly 60 years two bald eagle chicks hatched from a new nest on San Clemente Island. New bald eagle nests this season were also found near Smugglers Cove and Baby's Harbor on Santa Cruz Island, each with one hatched chick.
Overall, there are nearly 60 bald eagles residing on the California Channel Islands including 18 active breeding pairs and 13 chicks to be banded this breeding season.
"I have spent the past 18 years working to recover bald eagles on the Channel Islands," said Dr. Peter Sharpe with the Institute for Wildlife Studies. "Each year seems to bring yet another landmark in ensuring this keystone species a stable place in the island ecosystem."
To celebrate this milestone, the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program (MSRP) hosted 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 for more information.
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 35 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