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|Northern Channel Islands Update; Sunday, December 31, 2006|
|Topic Started: Apr 29 2008, 05:06 PM (743 Views)|
|eaglegal||Apr 29 2008, 05:06 PM Post #1|
Hello Everyone and Happy New Year,
Today is the last day of a hugely successful year for bald eagles on the Channel Islands. This past year surprised us with not one, but two nests on Santa Cruz Island, the first in over fifty years on the Northern Channel Islands. Both nests hatched one chick each, starting a new generation of ‘wild’ bald eagles in Southern California. Through the web camera, our websites, and the online forum, we have brought the eagle ‘experience’ to the public and the response has been unbelievable. We now have the support of hundreds of individuals from across the country, eager to be involved with the nesting eagles and the future of the restoration project. We have created the means for the public to join together with similar interests, creating friendships and experiences that will last a lifetime. We thank everyone for a wonderful 2006, and we now look forward to an even better 2007.
As 2006 comes to a close, the bald eagles begin to exploit new food resources offered on the Northern Channel Islands. Our GPS data indicates that most of the eagles are still on Santa Rosa Island. With the Hunt over for almost three weeks now, the eagles have been spending more time by the water as opposed to the interior of the island. As happened last year at this time, the eagles will now focus on the elephant seals as a primary food source, feeding on afterbirth, washed up carrion, and stillborn pups. Though it doesn’t sound very appetizing to us, the elephant seal breeding season provides a high nutritious variety of food for the eagles in the following months. As of now, all the eagles on Santa Rosa Island, A-49 and A-60 included, are on the northwest beaches, feeding on carrion delivered by the large winter swells. We expect the eagles to soon begin migrating to the southwest side of Santa Rosa Island, where the majority of elephant seals come ashore give birth. This is an important food item to sustain the bald eagles through the cold and windy winter months ahead.
Conversely, Santa Cruz Island only has a handful of bald eagles present. A-40 and A-55 made their way here from Santa Rosa Island about two weeks ago. A-40 is now at Cuerva Valdez, a beautiful protected anchorage on the north side of Santa Cruz Island. He has been in that area for almost a week now, probably just learning to fish and catch birds. A-55 has been a little more adventurous. She left Santa Cruz Island on December 19th and headed for the mainland. By 12/20, she was in Santa Monica, just outside of L.A. She then turned around and spent a week to the northwest of Santa Monica, close to the coast by the Santa Monica Mountains. On 12/26 she headed north, stopping briefly along the way by Oxnard and Ventura. By 12/28, she was in Santa Barbara, enjoying the pleasant weather and inviting beach-town atmosphere. However, the mainland life was too much for her after a while, so she headed back out to Santa Cruz Island, flying almost 30 miles across the channel to Prisoners Harbor and the comfort of ‘home’. Welcome back A-55 from your Holiday vacation!
Now back to nesting eagles. A-26 and K10 are still building their nest, constructing a 3-story ocean view mansion out of sticks. It is good to see that it survived the windstorm last week. I went to the south side nest twice this past week to observe their nesting plans for the New Year. A-04 and K-11 were always close to each other, reaffirming their lifelong dedication as a nesting pair. I was lucky enough to see the couple ‘expressing’ their love for one another. Watching bald eagles copulate is unlike anything I had ever seen, and I wasn’t really sure what was going on until it was over. K-11 jumped on A-04’s back and curled his talons so not to hurt her. It all happened very quickly. Afterwards, they flew off together, soaring high up before disappearing behind a mountain. I was unable to locate any signs of nest construction, be it on the ground in the old location or in a new cliff or tree location. We will keep a close watch on this couple and will update you on any new developments.
I don’t have any pictures to share with you this week, but should the opportunity arise, we will quickly post them on www.eaglefix.com and on the Online Forum. Recently, there has been a lull in blog postings on our website, www.eaglefix.com, due to the busy Holiday season. January should prove to be much more fruitful so keep you eyes out. See you next year.
Happy New Year!
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