Q: I read that a pair of bald eagles was nesting on a golf course in Alameda. Is this the first time that bald eagles have nested locally?
A: While it’s impossible for us to know for certain, it does appear that this is the first time a pair of bald eagles have nested in this area of Alameda County in at least 50 years. However, our database shows one bald eagle nest in 2012 near Lake Chabot in Alameda County which successfully fledged one young, and in 2022 there was a confirmed bald eagle nest near Lake Del Valle in Alameda County.
What’s significant about this pair of bald eagles is that the nest is in a highly urban area. Lake Chabot and Lake Del Valle are more typical eagle habitat.
Historically, bald eagles were widespread and abundant in California. But by the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the bald eagle was listed as an endangered species under both the federal and California endangered species acts, fewer than 30 nesting pairs remained in California – all in the northern third of the state. The decline was largely attributed to exposure to DDT, a pesticide used to control mosquitoes and other insects. It was later determined that the pesticide and its residues were poisoning bald eagles by causing egg shell thinning which resulted in failed nesting attempts.
Restrictions on the use of DDT, plus nest protections and other conservation actions, resulted in a remarkable recovery. The bald eagle was removed from the federal list of endangered species in 2007 after having met recovery goals. However, the bald eagle is listed as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act and designated as fully protected under California Fish and Game Code section 3511. It is also still federally protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
“Part of what’s exciting about the Alameda pair is the indication that environmental conditions in the historically highly polluted San Francisco Bay have improved enough to potentially support a nesting pair of bald eagles,” said Dan Applebee, CDFW Conservation and Recovery Unit Supervisor.
For more information visit CDFW’s bald eagle webpage.
Calendar of events
Q: Does CDFW publish a calendar of events?
A: Yes, CDFW publishes a monthly news release featuring events that occur on lands we manage, conservation-oriented community activities, and notable dates related to hunting, fishing and conservation. You can find these releases by visiting our online newsroom and searching “calendar.”
Resident small game
Q: Can I legally take a turkey with a bolt action .22 long rifle that uses Ruger 10-22 magazines? The factory magazine holds 10 rounds, and I would replace it with a single shot magazine.
A: No. Rifles are not a legal method of take for resident game birds. Authorized methods of take can be found in CDFW’s Waterfowl and Upland Game hunting regulation booklet, pages 27-28. The applicable regulation is California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 311 which outlines methods authorized for taking resident small game.
Hawaiian throw nets
Q: I’d like some clarification on Hawaiian type throw nets. The regulations state that dip nets of any size and baited hoop nets not greater than 36 inches may be used to take herring, Pacific staghorn sculpin, shiner surfperch, surf smelt, topsmelt, anchovies, shrimp and squid. Does this mean there are no size restrictions for Hawaiian throw nets because they are different from dipnets and baited hoop nets?
A: Yes, but only north of Point Conception, Santa Barbara County. California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 28.80 does not impose any size restrictions on Hawaiian type throw nets when using them to take herring, Pacific staghorn sculpin, shiner surfperch, surf smelt, topsmelt, anchovies, shrimp and squid. However, it would not be legal to use throw nets south of Point Conception.
If you have a question you would like to see answered in the California Outdoors Q and A column, email it to CalOutdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.