First bald eagle chick in 50 years hatches

April 14, 2006

After years trying to bring bald eagles back to the Channel Islands, wildlife experts announced the first unaided hatching in more than 50 years.

The chick hatched Wednesday on Santa Cruz Island, the largest in the eight-island chain.

A pair of adult eagles, born in captivity but raised on Santa Catalina Island, relocated to Santa Cruz Island last year and established a nest early this year.

Biologists are now waiting for the parents to feed the unnamed chick.

After about eight weeks, scientists will make contact with the chick, fitting it with an electronic transmitter and tagging it for future identification.

The hatching comes during the fifth and final year of the $3.2 million restoration program overseen by the National Park Service.

Since the late 1940s, bald eagles have been unable to hatch on the Channel Islands because their eggs contain high levels of toxic fire-retardant PCB and the banned pesticide DDT.

Money for the eagle restoration project came from a $140 million settlement paid by Montrose Chemical Co., other chemical companies and about 100 municipalities.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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