Dear all --
Yesterday I received a telephone call from a lady I did not know. She reported the sighting of a bald eagle on the Russian River near Forestville, CA by a friend of hers the same day. The eagle was wearing a blue wing tag with the number 19 inscribed. The caller said that her friend did not know how or to whom to report the sighting, so she helped her friend by going to her computer and doing a Google search using terms like "Sonoma County, Bald Eagle". That search led to my blog because I had posted a message on the recolonization of bald eagles to the North Bay earlier.
I instructed the lady to have her friend call the Bird Banding Lab to report the sighting. Meanwhile, I put a posting on the ornithology listserver asking if anyone there had knowledge of wing tagging of bald eagles that might end up on the Russian River in California. I heard from Dr. Peter Sharpe of the Institute for Wildlife Studies and learned that the bird seen on the Russian River had been removed as a chick from a nest in Alaska in 2003 and hacked on Santa Cruz Island off the coast of California. Dr. Sharpe said that the radio transmitter originally attached to this bird was no longer functioning, but similar birds had been tracked to southern Oregon and Northern California.
Several years ago, another female bald eagle from Dr. Sharpe's release program, also taken as a nestling from an Alaska nest, paired up with a male bald eagle at Del Valle Reservoir in Alameda County and producing young. That bird may still be there, as far as I know.
Blue A-19 was hatched in 2003 and so should be about old enough to pair up and breed. It may be too late for this year, but if the bird stays in the area, it would be fun to contemplate nesting bald eagles in the Russian River area in 2010.
It is a reminder that bald eagles are increasing in the area. And a tagged bird, including a color marked bird can be reported to the Bird Banding Lab. I will provide the contact on a separate posting in the near future.
Fairfax Raptor Research
P.O. Box 341
San Geronimo, CA 94963