Ms. Mallory Adventures: Bald Eagles
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Over the last few years more bald eagle sightings are occurring at San Diego Bay, Mission Bay, Lake Jennings, Lake Hodges, Lake Henshaw, Cuyamaca Lake and Lake Wohlford during the winter months as they migrate South.
Why are we seeing more of them according to Ms. Mallory:
• were once widespread and abundant in California
• By the late 1960s and early 1970s, bald eagle was listed as an endangered species, fewer than 30 nesting pairs remained in California–all in the northern third of the State
• Pesticide, DDT, was poisoning bald eagles causing egg shell thinning that resulted in many failed nesting attempts.
• Once the DDT was banned, California’s bald eagles began making a slow comeback and revisiting old hunting grounds.
What to look for?
• Adults are dark brown with a pure white head and tail
• Younger birds are mostly brown, mottled with varying amounts of white (acquire adult plumage at 4 or 5 years of age)
• weighs about 8 to 14 pounds and has a wingspan of 6½ to 8 feet
• Females are larger than males.
Where/when to find them?
• Bald eagles mainly feed on fish
• best chances are heading to larger bodies of water: lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and coastal wetlands. Some have been sited in Ramona grasslands, as well.
• Best viewing is in winter months (Dec-lat Feb), in the early morning or evening hours- although some have been spotted mid-day.
Keep Your Distance.
Local bird experts said eagle watchers should try to maintain a 100-yard distance.
“Although the Fish and Wildlife Service removed the bald eagle from endangered status in 2007, the bird will still be protected by the Migratory Bird Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.”- California Fish & Wildlife website
How can we help them?
One of the biggest threats to bald eagles is lead. Lead has and is still poisoning bald eagles throughout the United States when it’s inadvertently digested while feeding on un-retrieved carcasses —gut piles, varmint carcasses left in the field, and carcasses of game that couldn’t be located.