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Ventura County | IN BRIEF / CHANNEL ISLANDS

Park's New Eagles Slow to Leave Nesting Boxes

June 27, 2002|From Times Staff Reports

A day after nesting boxes holding four young bald eagles were opened on Santa Cruz Island, one of the birds has left and two others were last seen standing on the doors apparently still deciding whether to fly away. The fourth bird remained inside.

The animals are part of a five-year effort to reestablish bald eagles in Channel Islands National Park. Eagles disappeared from the area 50 years ago when DDT contamination thinned their eggshells and stopped successful hatching.

The young eagles were brought to Santa Cruz Island, the largest island in the park, more than a month ago and have remained in two locked nesting boxes until they were able to fly. But when the doors were opened Tuesday morning the birds stayed put. One left later that night.

On Wednesday two other birds were on the edge of the box looking around, said park spokesman Tom Dore.

"There are two on the deck right now," he said. "Another is about 100 yards away on a perch. One is still inside."

Park officials hope to introduce 12 bald eagles a year for the next five years on Santa Cruz Island.

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