AVALON, Calif. - A bald eagle egg has hatched in the wild on Santa Catalina Island, only the third since chemical contamination there wiped out the iconic birds several decades ago, conservation officials said Sunday.
The eaglet emerged from its shell sometime late Friday or early Saturday, according to Catalina Island Conservancy officials. Its sex had yet to be determined.
The hatchling's egg was one of four laid last month on the east end of the 76-square-mile island located off the coast of Los Angeles County. Two hatched last week and the fourth could hatch at any time, officials said.
Their parents are a 15-year-old male and a 14-year-old female, both hatched in captivity.
Contamination from chemical dumping devastated the bald eagle population on Catalina and did tremendous damage to fish and seabird populations around the chain of eight Channel Islands off Southern California. The last bald eagle egg hatched in the wild on Catalina was in the 1940s, said Ann M. Muscat, president and CEO of the conservancy.
More than thirty years after the dumping stopped, there are now 23 bald eagles regularly on Santa Catalina, including five nesting pairs.
3rd eaglet hatches on Catalina Island
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