For the first time in more than 60 years, a bald eagle chick has naturally hatched in a remote canyon on West Anacapa Island within the Channel Islands National Park.

This is also believed to be the first successful hatching of a bald eagle in Ventura County since the last known successful nest on Anacapa Island in 1949.

“This new milestone with a bald eagle chick on Anacapa Island is very exciting,” Channel Islands National Park Superintendent Russell Galipeau said. “Bald eagles are now breeding on four of the eight Channel Islands that they occupied historically.”

Bald eagles disappeared from the Channel Islands by the early 1960s because of human impacts, primarily DDT and PCB contamination. The effects of these chemicals are magnified in the food chain, causing bald eagles to lay thin-shelled eggs that dehydrate or break in the nest.

Today there are 60 to 70 bald eagles living on the Channel Islands as a result of multiagency restoration efforts that included raising and releasing bald eagle chicks from hack towers on Santa Cruz Island from 2002 to 2006.

There are 13 active nests with 12 chicks this breeding season, including three nests on Santa Cruz Island, two on Santa Rosa Island, one on Anacapa Island and seven on Santa Catalina Island.

— Yvonne Menard is chief of interpretation and a public information officer for the Channel Islands National Park.