(TMU) — The Golden Eagle might be classified as “stable,” but environmentalists are nonetheless celebrating the bird’s return to the Santa Monica mountains after a nearly 30-year hiatus. While conducting a survey on nearby private land, a consultant found a nest containing two chicks.
After identifying the newborn raptors, the consultant notified scientists at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The scientists teamed up with eagle experts at the U.S. Geological Survey and Bloom Biological Inc. They then confirmed the rare nest located high in a remote, rocky cave. According to the experts, the two chicks were only a couple of weeks old.
Said Katy Delaney, an ecologist with the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area:
“We haven’t seen them in so many years, though they could have been around and staying away from people. They’re very secretive, so they’re hard to find. It’s really amazing how big they are and how good they are about evading people.”
The last time a nest was confirmed in the Santa Monica mountains was in the late 1980’s, reports VC Star. Scientists hiked and crawled to the remote location which was farther east in Lobo Canyon. When they arrived, they found a handful of 6 1/2-week-old chicks. To learn more about the elusive birds, they strapped two bands over each of their legs.
Because the raptors avoid humans, little is known about their population size. What is known is that they are one of the largest raptors found throughout North America, primarily on the west coast. In fact, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife says they historically nested throughout the Santa Monica Mountains. For this reason, the appearance of Golden Eagle chicks is considered a positive development.