The Nature Conservancy logo. Protecting nature. Preserving life.Peter Sharpe, Ph.D., is a wildlife biologist with the Institute for Wildlife Studies.

Egg-citing news: shortly after 7:30 a.m. last Saturday, an egg laid at the Pelican Harbor Nest on Santa Cruz Island hatched, becoming the first bald eagle chick on the Pelican Harbor nest to emerge from its shell this nesting season.

The second came quick on its heels, hatching April 5 around 11:20 a.m. The parents, bald eagles K10 and K26, made history in 2006 when they became the first bald eagles to successfully reproduce on the California Channel Islands in nearly 50 years.

Bald eagles were reintroduced to Santa Cruz Island in 2002, and 2010 marks the first year that the first generation of native-born birds can reproduce. We’re not only witnessing the birth of a new generation of bald eagles: we’re witnessing the rebirth of Santa Cruz Island, where The Nature Conservancy has a preserve.

One of California’s — and the world’s — most remarkable ecosystems is being restored. Partnerships like those between the Institute for Wildlife Studies, the National Parks Service, the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program and the Conservancy are nursing the whole island back to health.

Over the next several months, we’ll continue to monitor the island’s bald eagle nests as the breeding season continues and more pairs produce eggs and chicks. In roughly eight weeks, we’ll band the eaglet at the Pelican Harbor nest so we can monitor its health and movements.

For the next 12-16 weeks, you’ll be able to watch the daily lives of the Pelican Harbor eagles — and the amazing growth of the newest addition to their family — through the live nest cam.

— Text by Peter Sharpe, Cool Green Science Blog