The Chicks Have Arrived!
The Pelican Harbor eaglets make their first appearance together.
Bye Bye Birdies
August 2 — Now that all the Channel Islands chicks have spread their wings and fledged, 2010’s bald eagle nesting season is coming to a close. It’s been a momentous season, and we have a lot to celebrate. Santa Cruz Island welcomed four new eaglets to the world, and the total number of new Channel Islands eaglets—15, in all—set a new record.
Check out Institute for Wildlife Studies scientist Dr. Peter Sharpe’s in-depth rundown of this year’s mating season on Cool Green Science, the Conservancy’s blog. And while eaglets A-68 and A-69 are only sporadically checking in with the eagle cam, the message board is still aflutter with Channel Islands eagle discussions.
Crazy Like a Fox
June 24 — The Pelican Harbor nest had an unexpected visitor this morning: an intrepid Santa Cruz Island fox. Eaglet A-68—clearly not expecting company at such an early hour—was less than hospitable and gave his guest a terrified warning. An equally surprised fox, sensing its presence was unwanted, turned tail and fled.
Foxes are normally good climbers, but it was nonetheless a surprise that this particular explorer made it up to the nest, which is several dozen feet off the ground. Thankfully, both parties came away unscathed. Check out video footage of the incident, and keep an eye on the eagle cam—you never know who’s going to drop by and say hello.
A First Time for Every-wing
June 23 — Yesterday at 5:46 pm, eaglet A-69 spread his wings and took to the sky, leaving the Pelican Harbor nest—and brother A-68—in his dust. As always, the eagle cam was primed to capture the thrilling moment.
Nearly three months after being born, A-69 is developing right on schedule. A-68, born a few days after his big brother, will most likely start experimenting with flight in the next few days. Don’t miss it: track his movements live on the eagle cam and watch as little brother takes wing!
Meanwhile, Down on the Ground...
June 10 — The Conservancy is pretty excited about the flap being made over the eagles’ nesting efforts. But that’s only part of the story behind the amazing recovery being made by Santa Cruz Island.
Click over to our Cool Green Science blog to read Conservancy scientist Dr. Scott Morrison’s thoughts on our restoration efforts and how eagles are getting along with their brethren, the Santa Cruz Island fox.
The Eagles Are Banded!
May 28 — On Thursday, May 27, the Pelican Harbor eaglets had their first encounter with people, and the meeting went entirely according to plan. The eagle chicks formerly known as . . . well, just eaglets, received their official ID tags and a check-up, courtesy of the Institute for Wildlife Studies’ scientists. The larger female eaglet is now called A-69; her smaller brother is A-68.
Watch footage of biologist Jim Spickler climbing up to meet and capture the eaglets for their tagging. You can also check out the IWS bulletin board to watch as the eaglets were banded, measured and radio-collared.
Now that A-68 and A-69 have been returned safely to their nest and to their parents, you can continue watching their development on the eagle cam.
Band Together — Join Us Online for a Live Eagle Event
May 21 — Pelican Harbor bald eagles K-10 and K-26 have already gotten to know their latest offspring. Now, they’re ready to give scientists a chance.
Watch live from the eagle cam on Thursday, May 27, at 11 am PDT as Dr. Peter Sharpe from the Institute for Wildlife Studies (IWS) and partners band and attach radio collars to Santa Cruz Island’s newest generation of bald eagles. The process will allow them to identify and track the eaglets—and a quick medical checkup will help ensure the eaglets are healthy and developing normally.
Dr. Sharpe will describe the process and how the transmitters work in addition to giving an overview of the history of the eagle restoration project. Don’t miss it!
Here a Chick, There a Chick…
May 4 — It’s been a banner year for the bald eagles of the Channel Islands. Scientists are reporting that they’re seeing the highest number of mating couples since eagles were reintroduced to the region in 2002. So far, 14 chicks have hatched—four on Santa Cruz Island, one on Santa Rosa Island and nine on Catalina Island—which sets another record. And that number may yet increase, as eagles continue to incubate eggs.
Eagle fans are still flocking to the eagle cam, where viewers are offered an intimate look into the evolving family life of Pelican Harbor eagles K-10 and K-26 and their young. Stay tuned for news on a special live event and a chance to hear about the eagles’ progress directly from Dr. Peter Sharpe of the Institute for Wildlife Studies.
Two Chicks, One Nest
April 5 — Eagles K-10 and K-26 are on a roll. The couple hatched another eaglet a little after 11 am this morning, and the Pelican Harbor nest saw its second new bald eagle in the last three days.
Stay tuned to the eagle cam to watch the dynamic duo as they grow!
The Full Nesters
April 3 — Congratulations to K-10 and K-26 and their brand new eaglet! The proud parents welcomed a new eaglet into the world shortly after 7:30 am on Saturday morning after a long and trying month of incubation.
But K-10 and K-26 still have a job to do. The female, K-26, will stay in the nest almost constantly to ensure the safety of her downy child, who’s partially blind and largely helpless. For his part, K-10 will make excursions to find food to bring back to the Pelican Harbor nest for his growing family. And both parents will continue to incubate their second egg, which could hatch any day now.
The eaglet will grow rapidly, but it will be a couple months before it’s ready to take to the air on its own. Those eager for eaglet views can continue to follow mating season with the bald eagle cam. You can also catch the eaglet’s coming-out party online at the eagles discussion board.
Back for Seconds
March 3 — K-26 has laid another egg, raising the total to two in the Pelican Harbor nest. The second egg appeared around 2:50 pm, February 28.
Laying Down the Awww!
February 26 — And the first egg has been laid! Pelican Harbor pair K-10 and K-26 are currently standing vigil over the egg, which K-26 laid just after 5:30 pm on February 25.
Now the approximately 35-day incubation period begins. Both parents will take turns incubating the couple’s eggs using their brood patches—featherless spots on their chests with above-average concentrations of blood vessels that keep the eggs warm.
Eagles fans around the world rejoice: The reunion tour has happened again!
But they’re not rocking arenas. The bald eagles of Santa Cruz Island—K-10 and K-26—have returned to their Pelican Harbor nest. They're expected to lay their eggs in late February and hatch their young a month later, and when they do, avid followers will be able to watch the entire process online through the eagle web cam. Fans can also track the eagles’ progress on the Ventura County Office of Education’s online discussion board.
“We are optimistic that the number of breeding eagles will increase in 2010,” says Peter Sharpe, a wildlife biologist with the Institute for Wildlife Studies (IWS). “All the birds from the original releases are at least four years old now and should be able to begin breeding.”
Local Celebrities to Legions of Adoring Fans
The bald eagle enjoys its fair share of fame due to its status as the national bird of the United States, but the Santa Cruz Island eagles have earned an additional measure of celebrity: After all, they’re movie stars—at least on the Internet.
Since 2006, eagle enthusiasts have eagerly tuned into live, streaming footage to watch as Santa Cruz Island eaglets poked through their shells and even took their first flights.
This year’s no different. The solar-powered eagle web cam is up and running at the Pelican Harbor nest on the north side of the island, and online visitors can once again witness rarely seen wild eagle nesting behavior.
This footage offers tangible evidence that conservation strategies are restoring Santa Cruz Island to full ecological health.
A Proud Return
From the early 1960s to the 1970s, eagles largely disappeared from the Channel Islands, which sit off the coast of Los Angeles.
An alliance of conservationists, initiated by the National Park Service and spearheaded by the IWS, started reintroducing bald eagle chicks to Santa Cruz Island in 2002.
"I'm proud of the fact that we have been able to return bald eagles to the Channel Island after they were decimated by DDT pollution," Sharpe says. "I'm looking forward to increasing the number of eagles breeding on the island so that we can start adding more birds to the population."
The IWS estimates that there are currently 30–35 bald eagles living on the Northern Channel Islands.
Hope for 2010
The repopulation project is beginning to return dividends, and the prospects for 2010 are bright. If the 2006 hatchlings breed this year, they’ll give life to a new generation of wild-born bald eagles.
Over the past few months, staff from IWS have identified seven eagle pairs on Santa Cruz Island. Sharpe estimates that these pairs could account for as many as five nests, which typically produce one to two chicks apiece.