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ONLINE NEWSLETTER
 
CATALINA’S BALDS ARE BACK

By Frank Hein

Catalina’s Eagles: Gone, and now back – Catalina Island historically supported a healthy bald eagle population until the 1950s, when DDT dumping off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach began severely impacting the environment. DDT, or more correctly its byproduct, DDE, bio-accumulated in bald eagles across North America. DDE caused egg shells to become thin and degrade. Eggs cracked under the weight of incubating females and the surface of the eggs also was altered, making gas exchange through the egg membrane problematic. Populations crashed, and, by the late 1950s, breeding bald eagles disappeared from Catalina.
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In the early 1980s, the Institute for Wildlife Studies began a long-term bald eagle reintroduction program on Catalina and the other Channel Islands. Eggs were taken out of nests shortly after laying, and incubated off-site. When the chicks hatched, they were returned to the nests, and the adults accepted them back and raised them. In 2007, biologists took a chance by letting the adults lay, incubate, hatch and raise young on their own on two nests – to see if they could make it. The experiment worked. Today, all of Catalina’s eagles lay, hatch and raise their young without the need for the egg-swapping technique. Now that they are reproducing on their own, we can truly consider them “back.”  The Institute for Wildlife Studies continues to study and monitor these amazing birds to ensure they continue to thrive on Catalina. You can watch two of Catalina’s eagle nests live at www.iws.org.


Special thanks go to Dr. Peter Sharpe and Steffani Jijon of the Institute for Wildlife Studies for their significant contributions to this month’s edition – and for all the outstanding work the IWS performs.



2011 Breeding Season Summary

Edited by Jerry Roberts



THE ISLAND NATURALIST
Issue #11 / Eagle News You Can Use


IN THIS ISSUE...


Catalina’s Bald Eagles Are Back
New Eggs, New Chicks!
Fact or Fiction: Still Endangered?
Did You Know … Females Outsize Males





Photo by Frank Hein

An adult bald eagle soars over Catalina. Catalina’s banded birds wear orange wing tags, allowing researchers to identify the bird’s movements without the need for recapture.

 

 

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