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Bald Eagle Chick Hatches

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

Now, for an update on a bird whose future is looking brighter.

Down the coast here in Southern California, scientists last month discovered a bald eagle egg on Santa Cruz Island. David Garcelon, who is head of the Institute of Wildlife Studies, was among those keeping a close eye on that egg, and last Wednesday a baby eagle popped its gray head out of the shell, the first to hatch in the wild there in over half a century.

DAVID GARCELON: I felt like a grandpa, as soon as I saw its little head bobbing around in there. I mean, my face was sore from smiling for so long, just watching the video of the adults tending to the chick. It was just an incredible event for me, because I've been waiting almost 30 years to see this happen.

MONTAGNE: Amid all the excitement, though, one worry: the mother and father didn't seem to know how to feed the chick. Then on Friday, a breakthrough.

GARCELON: We finally saw the male bring a fish into the nest. The female fed on it for awhile, and I think with the chick chirping away they finally decided that maybe the chick would like some too.

MONTAGNE: If all goes well, says David Garcelon, in three months this bald eagle baby will leave the nest, no longer a chick, weighing up to 12 pounds and with a wingspan of up to seven feet. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.