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May 272010
 

From Green Rigth Now Reports

Bald Eagles continue to recover from their dangerous decline in the last century, and this week  enthusiasts can celebrate the successful hatching of two bald eagle chicks on Santa Rosa Island off the coast of California.

Bald Eagle chicks (Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service)

Bald Eagle chicks (Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service)

The chicks are the first to hatch on that island in more than 60 years, and what’s more they’re one of a record number of successful hatchings in the Channel Islands this breeding season, according to the National Parks Service.

The last Bald Eagle chicks to be reared on Santa Rosa were hatched in 1950, before the rain of chemicals that nearly wiped out America’s national bird.

Six bald eagle chicks are expected to leave their nests in the next few weeks in the northern Channel Islands, bringing to 40 the number of bald eagles in that area.

Biologists were to band and tag two bald eagle chicks in a nest on Santa Cruz Island, off the coast of Southern California (northwest of Los Angeles), an event that was being streamed online at the Channel Islands Live Bald Eagle webcam. (It’s for real. The NPS has a Bald Eagle webcam, where you can hear the Non-Silent Spring sounds of those chicks!)

The 2010 eagle births in the Channel Island’s breakdown like this:

  • Four chicks, a pair of chicks in two nests on Santa Cruz
  • Two chicks on Santa Rosa, one each in two nests
  • Seven nests with nine chicks on Santa Catalina Island in 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.

The Bald Eagle population declined precipitously in the last century because of contamination from PCPs and the pesticide DDT, which was liberally used in the 1950s before officials had adequately studied or considered its toxic impact. The chemicals migrated up the food chain and when ingested by eagles caused them to lay thin-shelled eggs that either cracked or weren’t viable.

Their recovery can be attributed to the ban on DDT and protection for many years under the Endangered Species Act. Bald Eagles were delisted from the ESA in 2007.

For more info and a discussion board on the Channel Island eagles see Channel Islands Live!