Bald Eagle nest on Santa Cruz Is
- FYI, here's our press release:
These were hacked Catalina birds that went up to Santa Cruz Is.
Montrose Settlement Restoration Program
Restoring Natural Resources harmed by DDTs and PCBs
501 W. Ocean Blvd. Suite 4470 * Long Beach, CA 90802 * 562.980.3236
March 16, 2006
Bald Eagles Lay First Egg in 50 Years on the Northern Channel Islands
SANTA CRUZ ISLAND, CA - Today, biologists announced that for the
first time in more than 50 years, a pair of bald eagles have laid an
egg in a nest on Santa Cruz Island off the coast of Southern
California. The last known successful nesting of a bald eagle on the
Northern Channel Islands was in 1949 on Anacapa Island.
Bald eagles disappeared from the Channel Islands by the early 1960s,
due to human impacts, primarily pollution. Millions of pounds of DDTs
and PCBs released into the ocean off the Palos Verdes Peninsula
between the 1940s and the 1970s continue to contaminate the regional
food web. 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.
Since 2002, biologists from the Institute for Wildlife Studies (IWS)
have been re-establishing young bald eagles on the northern Channel
Islands as a part of the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program.
The hope is that these birds may fare better than the bald eagles
farther south on Catalina Island, which continue to produce fragile
The breeding bald eagles on Santa Cruz Island were both hatched from
a captive breeding program at the San Francisco Zoo and were fostered
into nests on Catalina Island in 2001 and 2002. After leaving
Catalina Island, they each roamed the western U.S. mainland and
visited the northern Channel Islands, possibly attracted by the
presence of other young eagles there. The 5-year-old male and 4-year-
old female established a territory on Santa Cruz Island in late 2005.
Although inexperienced pairs can be unsuccessful on their first
breeding attempt, the biologists involved remain cautiously
optimistic about the prospects of a chick hatching in the next few
"While we are keeping our fingers crossed, this is the first breeding
attempt for the pair," states David Garcelon, president of the
IWS. "Regardless of the outcome, we will continue to intensely
monitor this and other bald eagle pairs in the Channel Islands over
the coming years to assess their overall reproductive success."
"This is very exciting news," said Russell Galipeau, Superintendent,
Channel Islands National Park. "To have breeding bald eagles again on
the Northern Channel Islands represents a significant milestone in
bald eagle recovery efforts."
The National Park Service and The Nature Conservancy, co-owners of
Santa Cruz Island, want to remind visitors that bald eagles are a
federally protected species and that it is illegal to disturb nesting
birds. Disturbances can cause the eagles to accidentally break the
egg or fly away from the nest, leaving the egg vulnerable to ravens
or other predators.
This bald eagle re-establishment study is part the Montrose
Settlements Restoration Program (MSRP), a multi-agency program
dedicated to restoring natural resources harmed by DDTs and PCBs
released into the environment by Montrose Chemical Corporation and
other industrial sources in Southern California in the mid 20th
century. 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
Game, California State Lands Commission, and California Department of
Parks and Recreation.