One of the island’s most dramatic residents is also the subject of one of the most popular Catalina Island webcams.
Soaring high above the Catalina coastline, bald eagles are a thrilling sight to see no matter how many times they are glimpsed. With their distinctive white heads and tails, the national bird of the United States is unmistakable and there are several nesting pairs on Catalina Island. Hunting fish and occasionally birds, bald eagles can often be spotted at various locations around the island.
Bald eagles have long made Catalina Island their home, but the majestic raptors were nearly wiped out by pesticides. By the 1950s, there were no eagles living on the island, but thanks to the hard work of the Institute for Wildlife Studies and the Catalina Island Conservancy, these regal birds have been returned to their ancestral homeland. More than two dozen eagles were released in the 1980s, but for many years, residual chemicals in the environment made the eggs too fragile to be hatched by the parent birds. For nearly 20 years, the eggs were removed from the nest and replaced with a fake egg; after the eggs were hatched off site, the fake egg was swapped out with the newly hatched chicks and the parent birds raised the chicks. In 2007 it was determined that the eggs were strong enough to be hatched in the wild and since then, the Catalina eagles have been successfully hatching their eggs and raising their chicks.
Spring is the perfect time to check out the eagles via Catalina Island webcams for obvious reasons. Gangly chicks are being fed and protected by their parents. By June the awkward offspring will have transformed into novice hunters and will leave the nests, making the webcams not nearly as interesting.
The next time you’re on the island, remember to keep an eye out for these iconic birds. They can often be seen on the Frog Rock Kayak Tour or the Catalina Eco-Tour. If you’d like a chance to get up close and personal with other birds of prey, don’t miss the Catalina Falconry Experience.