Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Restoring Bald Eagles to California's Channel Islands

First known Bald Eagle to hatch on Anacapa Island since 1960.
 Photo was taken in 2011. NOAA Photo

"Historically, Bald Eagles nested and lived among all of the Channel Islands. However, by the early 1960s, Bald Eagles disappeared from the Channel Islands due to human impacts, including the introduction of DDT. The overall goal of this restoration effort is to create a self-sustaining population of Bald Eagles on the Channel Islands.

"Restoration efforts on Catalina Island have been conducted since 1980, and efforts on the northern Channel Islands began in 2002. The restoration of the Bald Eagle back to the Channel Islands has been a major focus of the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program (MSRP) over the past decade.

"From 2002 to 2006, MSRP partnered with the Institute for Wildlife Studies to release 61 Bald Eagle juveniles on Santa Cruz Island. Since their release on Santa Cruz Island, the eagles have spread out among the Channel Islands and biologists have documented nesting on Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, Anacapa, and Catalina Islands.

"Biologists monitor Bald Eagles throughout the Channel Islands. Annual monitoring involves searching for new nesting pairs, collecting data on breeding attempts, tracking eagles, and conducting contaminant analysis. Prior to a chick fledging from a nest, biologists place wing markers, a leg band, and GPS or VHF radio transmitter onto the eaglets. They also take blood samples for contaminant and stable isotope analysis. This information helps biologists to monitor the movements and health of the Bald Eagle chicks."

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