For the first time in 60 years, a bald eagle has hatched on Anacapa Island off the coast of Ventura County, the National Park Service announced today. The 1.1 square-mile island is known as a major bird rookery for the west coast, but the national bird's presence vanished from Anacapa and the surrounding Channel Islands in the early 1960s, primarily due to DDT and PCB contamination.
"This new milestone with a bald eagle chick on Anacapa Island is very exciting," said Channel Islands National Park Superintendent Russell Galipeau. "Bald eagles are now breeding on four of the eight Channel Islands that they occupied historically."
Nesting is currently taking place on Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa--all which are within the National Park--and Santa Catalina, the privately held island with two small cities and thousands of acres of preserved open space. Santa Barbara and San Miguel--also within the National Park--and San Clemente and San Nicholas--both military-controlled--still have no nesting activity.
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Of the 13 active nests on the Channel Islands this season, 12 chicks, eight of them on Catalina, successfully hatched (two additional ones died on Santa Rosa). In total, 60 to 70 bald eagles are known to live on the islands, thanks to restoration efforts that began in 2002 to re-introduce them.
Both Anacapa parents, originally from Alaska, were part of that program and were released on the neighboring Santa Cruz Island. Their nest is on the western part of the island in a remote canyon, inaccessible to public view. Two eggs were discovered in March, but the status of the second one is unknown.