This nesting pair of bald eagles and their downy chicks on the Channel Islands, off the coast of southern California in the spring of 2010, was captured by the National Park Service’s Channel Islands Live Bald Eagle Webcam. Photo credit: Kevin White, Full Frame Productions.
On March 7, 2012 the natural resource trustees and partners announced the earliest known hatching of a bald eagle chick during the eagle nesting season on California’s Channel Islands. The chick hatched on March 5 at a nest on Santa Cruz Island in the northern Channel Islands.
Other indicators point to 2012 being another successful year for the bald eagle restoration project on the Channel Islands, a 160-mile long archipelago of 8 islands off the coast of southern California. A new record high of 15 breeding pairs are now active on the Islands and, so far this year, there are 6 known active bald eagle nests. Current bird counts show that between 60 and 70 individual bald eagles are now resident on the Islands.
The bald eagle restoration project on the Channel Islands is being funded through the natural resource trustees and the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program. The Program’s goal is to restore natural resources and natural resource services injured by PCBs and DDTs released from the Montrose/Palos Verdes Superfund site into the Southern California Bight.
The natural resource trustees include the State of California, the Department of Commerce, acting through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Department of the Interior, acting through National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. National Park Service manages five of the eight Channel Islands as Channel Islands National Park. Bald eagle restoration project partner, The Nature Conservancy, owns most of Santa Cruz Island.
By the early 1960s, bald eagles had disappeared from the Channel Islands primarily from the adverse reproductive effects of DDTs exposure through the marine food chain in the Southern California Bight. Eagles were re-introduced to the Islands through the bald eagle restoration project and began unassisted nesting there in 2006, for the first time in over 50 years. The project is being undertaken pursuant to the publicly-reviewed Montrose Settlements Restoration Program Final Restoration Plan.