The magnitude-5.3 earthquake that shook Southern California Thursday (April 5) barely rattled one local family: a nest of bald eagles on Santa Cruz Island.
The epicenter of the quake was just south of the island, which is part of Channel Islands National Park off the coast, near Ventura. According to news reports, little damage was reported from the quake, though there were some landslides on Santa Cruz Island.
But the shaking did flummox an eagle family being monitored by webcam. In a video released by explore.org, an adult eagle flaps away momentarily as the temblor hits, and three chicks look around, cheeping, as the nest sways slightly. Parental security soon returns in a flap of feathers, however, and the birds go about their day. [Why Is the Bald Eagle America's National Bird?]
About 60 bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) live on the Channel Islands, according to the National Park Service. The birds disappeared from the islands in the 1950s because of human hunting and contamination from the pesticide DDT, which got into the eagles' diet and weakened their eggshells. Reintroduction efforts in the early 2000s brought bald eagles back to the national park.
The birds settle in nests of sticks and grass that can reach up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) in diameter, according to the National Park Service. They lay between one and three eggs per year, which hatch about 35 days later. The eggs of the baby eagles seen in the earthquake video were laid in early February and hatched between March 13 and March 16, according to a moderator on the live webcam site. The Institute for Wildlife Studies is holding a fundraiser through May 15, auctioning off the naming rights for the fuzzy, gray eaglets.
Elsewhere off the coast of California, other bald eagles took Thursday's shaking in stride. A newly laid egg was spotted in the nest above the town of Two Harbors this week, explore.org announced on its Facebook page. (Catalina Island felt the shaking from Thursday's earthquake, according to the U.S. Geological Survey'sShakeMap.) A live cam is monitoring the nest around the clock. According to the camera site's moderators, the egg appeared in the nest Monday (April 2) at around 5:30 p.m. local time.
Original article on Live Science.
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Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.