Keep on Rocking in the Eagle World
September 1 — Eagles fans haven’t been disappointed: it’s been a successful breeding season in the Channel Islands. Overall, the booming bald eagle population produced 14 chicks, of which 12 survived and fledged.
Here on Santa Cruz Island — where the Conservancy has helped nurse a set of stunning ecosystems back to health — we shared in that success. We watched as eagles A-27 and A-40 give birth to eaglet A-73, who’s come to be known as Dreamer. Since fledging on June 28, he’s been quite the vagabond, and you can read about his extensive touring here.
You can still visit the Sauces Canyon eagle cam for a lovely view, but as the days drag on and fall approaches, it becomes less and less likely that Dreamer will drop by his childhood home (though, as you can see, he’s still making the occasional encore appearance for nostalgia’s sake).
So hold up your lighters in honor of a memorable spring and summer, and plan on purchasing tickets for next year’s tour — the eagles will be back before you know it to make more memories.
Fly In, Fly Out
July 20 — Eaglet A-73 is known as Dreamer, but in the weeks since he fledged, he’s behaved more like his name is Wanderer. The eaglet has been largely absent from his Pelican Harbor nest on Santa Cruz Island, and his recent homecoming, which can be seen here, was brief.
Learning to Fly
June 28 — They grow up so fast. Though in this case, A-73 has grown up, up and away.
The pride of Pelican Harbor fledged today, taking his first flight over Santa Cruz Island. You can find video of A-73’s tremendous accomplishment here.
Over at Cool Green Science, the Conservancy’s blog, IWS scientist Peter Sharpe has more on the fledging and on this year’s breeding season in the Channel Islands. And, as always, keep tuning in to the eagle cam.
Back to the Island
June 14 — A quick follow-up on the recent Santa Cruz Island banding: A-73 is, as it so happens, male. Courtesy of the IWS, you can watch more detailed footage of his banding and check-up, which came up normal, here. (The squeamish may want to skip the 3:20—4:00 segment of this video, which shows scientists collecting a blood sample from A-73.)
Also of note: A newly released 14-minute documentary on the Channel Islands eagles’ recovery that was commissioned by the Montrose Restoration Program. Check it out, and make sure to keep an eye on the eagle cam.
A Star Is Banded
June 6 — The Sauces Canyon chick finally has a number: world, meet eagle A-73.
On June, parents A-27 and A-40 were gracious enough to momentarily vacate their Santa Cruz Island nest and let IWS scientists band and collar their eaglet. You can watch video of the banding process — and, as always, keep an eye on what’s happening at the nest this very instant — thanks to the eagle cam.
Making the Band
June 2 — It’s an exciting week on Santa Cruz Island. There's an expectant hush from eagles fans: a new eagle is about to be banded.
Peter Sharpe and a team of scientists will band the Sauces Canyon eagle today at some point between 1 and 3 pm. Stay tuned to the eagle cam to get a glimpse of the process, which will outfit the eaglet with a band and a radio collar and ensure the chick is developing healthily.
Beak-coming a Family
May 3 — On Santa Cruz Island’s Sauces Canyon nest, Eagles A-27 and A-40 are dutifully tending to their new chick, taking turns babysitting so that the other parent can track down food. You can help supervise their eaglet through the now-operational eagle cam.
Unfortunately, it’s now unlikely that the couple’s second egg will hatch, according to Dr. Peter Sharpe of the IWS. Luckily, their first chick is a veritable avian highlight reel: watch the eaglet eat and get acquainted with its own wings.
The Conservancy has helped guide Santa Cruz Island down the road to recovery. Help us continue this amazing story.
Break on Through to the Other Side
April 18 — The bald eagles of the Channel Islands have added another greatest hit to their repertoire with the birth of a new eaglet. Eagles A-40 and A-27, who have taken up residence on the Sauces Canyon nest on Santa Cruz Island, successfully hatched a chick on Saturday, April 9. You can watch video of the momentous event here.
As always, keep your eyes peeled on the eagle cam and the discussion board. And don’t forget to check out the IWS’s own Peter Sharpe over at Cool Green Science, where he blogs about the new eagle cam and the joy of watching new life hatch on Santa Cruz Island.
Ready for Their Close-Up
April 8 — Been missing the bald eagles of Santa Cruz Island? Have no fear; a new eagle cam is here.
While last year’s darlings K-10 and K-26 have relocated to a new nest, eagles A-27 and A-40 have taken up residence in the Sauces nest on Santa Cruz Island — and they’re already sitting on two eggs. Peter Sharpe and staff from the IWS recently installed a new camera that provides a bird’s-eye view of the egg-citing proceedings.
Another year, another chance for the California Channel Islands eagles to mate—and, just maybe, add to their greatest hits.
Luckily, they already have a rich back catalog to mine. Since a number of conservation groups—including the National Park Service, the Institute for Wildlife Studies (IWS), the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program and The Nature Conservancy—started reintroducing chicks to the Channel Islands in 2002, the local bald eagle population has soared.
Last year alone saw the birth of 15 eaglets.Santa Cruz Island—which is partially owned by the Conservancy and stands as one of the world’s greatest examples of island restoration— hosted eagles K-10 and K-26. The world watched these budding stars via webcam as they brought eaglets A-68 and A-69 into the world.
“We’re hoping to get 15 breeding pairs on the Channel Islands this year,” says Peter Sharpe of the IWS. “We had 13 last year, of which 11 were successful, and that was a record number.”
The Conservancy and partners have done much to turn Santa Cruz Island, the largest of the Channel Islands, back into the ecological wonder it was before a variety of environmental problems—including invasive species, new predators and pollution—disrupted the island’s natural balance.
Pollution in particular was a problem for the island’s bald eagles. In the 1960s, an accumulation of DDT pesticides in the waters around the island contaminated the fish that sustained bald eagles, forcing their numbers to drop precipitously.
That decrease affected the island’s entire ecosystem. In the absence of bald eagles, golden eagles made their way to the island and began preying on the Santa Cruz Island fox.
But the eagle restoration program has been very successful, and the cries of bald eagles once again fill the air above the Channel Islands.
Luckily, those cries are audible on cameras installed by the scientists who work with the eagles. Thousands of devoted eagle fans have been able to watch new generations grow up to make beautiful music.
Our supporters have made the recoveries of Santa Cruz Island and the Channel Islands eagles possible. And you can help, too.
Oldies but Goodies
So far, the Channel Islands have produced a number of stars, like K-10, K-26 and their progeny. And then there’s Stephen Colbert, Jr.—which, despite being named for the hawkish television host, is actually a bald eagle, and a famous one, at that. And Santa Cruz Island’s own Princess Cruz—the first eagle born through the program—may return to breed for the first time this year.
In the past, the eagle cam has recorded a number of show-stoppers and chart-toppers.
- Got To Get You Into My Life: Cam watchers have shared in the anxious wait as the proud parents-to-be incubate their eggs.
- You Really Got Me: The camera captured footage of young eaglets being banded, officially joining the ranks of Channel Islands eagles.
- Lean on Me: Rising stars sometimes stumble on the way to stardom. The eagles can empathize.
- Gimme Shelter: Sometimes the eagles even share the stage with unexpected guests—like when an island fox climbed and then stumbled into the Pelican Harbor nest.
And always, there’s that breathtaking moment when an eaglet comes into its own. It steps to the edge of the nest, hesitantly flaps its wings once or twice—and then takes flight, soaring off over the sparkling waters of the Pacific. For those about to fledge, the Conservancy salutes you.
“2011 figures to be an exciting year for the eagles,” says Sharpe of the IWS. “We’ve already seen the first eggs laid on Catalina Island, and we’re hoping to see more soon.”
Stay tuned for more eagle news as the season continues. Maybe this year, we’ll be able to watch a new generation of eaglets break out of their shells and into stardom.