Video of the Day: Live Bald Eagle Cams on Catalina Island
By the 1960s, America's bird and national symbol could not be found on any of the eight Channel Islands where it had made home before the arrival of humans. Twenty years before, the practice of pouring DDT into the ocean off Palos Verdes Peninsula, mostly at the hands of the Montrose Chemical Corporation, became a 30 year practice resulting in those chemicals going up the marine food chain into Bald Eagles, whose main diet consist of fish. No, it didn't kill the bald eagles, but it was to their eggs--too thin and fragile due to the chemical intrusion, they were easily crushed before the chicks would hatch. Eventually, with no birth cycle, Bald Eagles were gone.
Thankfully, it's a different story today. Conservation efforts by the National Park Service and groups like the Catalina Island Conservancy and Institute for Wildlife Studies have seen the reintroduction of the birds onto their native islands. One of the their efforts is to monitor the nests where newborns hatch and are watched over by their parents.
"We began restoring [bald eagles to the island] in 1980 and have released and fostered over 100 birds," explained Dr. Peter Sharpe of the Institute for Wildlife Studies from his office in Avalon. He began using the cameras to help monitor the nests, which is easier to check online rather than driving or hiking an hour or more from his island-valley city office to the steep cliffs where they are only viewable by a special scope that should be used from a quarter mile away. In the end, online is a better view anyway.
Additionally, now anyone can view them online. Two are currently working near the unincorporated town of Two Harbors (view cam) and on the island's West end (embedded above). A camera up the coast on Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands National Park currently works (view cam), but because the chicks did not survive this year, there is not much to see.