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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
July 3, 2001     Feather River Bulletin
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July 3, 2001

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eather Ri~l~n, ence to ces. )el" Progres~ve, Record, Reporter r II I II I I Tuesday, July 3, 2001 Ill Iladde $ =tlen B 0 Arts & Entertainment GI Opinion & Perspective Letters to the Editor Q rdals II II IIII art(l# job is to make sure we don't turb nes ng Gary Rotta Wildlife Biologist !1 1 Ii litle birds with wide wingspans. Their nests are ImlweSSiVe, sometimes measuring up to five feet across, to give the adults and their offslWlng room. Photos by Gary ~I~ ll reed 0 tocl Tease & ..... Metcalf With only 500 nesting pairs by the pair as they fly in and too great, the pair will move half flies, half swims with the tends to be a staple diet, but '_ jw er left in the 48 continguous out to feed their young, and may fail to reproducefish in its sharp talons, its ducks, rabbits and other 300, Wlt . .... Ben3amm Franklin s ad- states, politicians were final Bald eagles have a life span that year. wide wings flapping rapidly, small animals also become was m_zen and our court- ly convinced it was time to of about 20 years, Rotta said. "Part of my job is to make until it reaches shore. There, part of their diet. Bald eagles la ./'s natiorml bird became act. They generally pair up atsure we don't allow activities it rips the fish into manage- will also scavenge for food at wild turkey, where would In 1978, the bald eagle was about five years old, and be- to disturb nesting time," Rot- able pieces, and then flies this time of year, picking . 'hbetoday? placed on the endangered cause they tend to use the ta said. "February through back to the nast, over a dead goose or other an- I gov o " .... uld fishermen in theirspecies list. It was also the same nest year after year, April is the most vulnerable Rotta said he's seen someimal. .e boats,stop, shield their same year wildlife biologist sometimes the tree they time." incredibly large carp heads with a hand and look Gary Rotta joined the Plumas choose dies f0rcing them on lumas ward Disturbances include de- left behind--the only part the WIMIIfe ncrea o " National Forest (PNF). One of to another tree. bris burning, timber harvest- bald eagle hasn't consumed Raised in the San Diego uld school children his jobs, over the next 23 'el,, Occasionally, a pair of ea- ing, boat ramp activity and or packed off to feed hungry area, Rotta said he grew up l ev takingly draw the most years, would involve track, gles will construct several others. One year, Rotta said mouths, appreciating the outdoors mess 'Jailed pictures of the bird ing bald eagles, recording nests within their territory, he had to stop snowmobiling In winter, the habits of the and hunting and fishing. bec. Ould their habitat and progress, "At Butt Lake, one has in one nesting area, but after bald eagle change. The young His father was a contrac- the smaller, darkand ensuring nesting pairs three nest sites in its territo- monitoring the nesting site, have leR the nest and are on tor, so he grew up learning so , ,c_reate the feelings of pa- went undisturbed by man. ry," Rotta said. it didn't seem to have an ira. their own by the end of sum- something about the con- E)tism the bald eagle stirs In 1978, approximately six When this occurs, only one pact, so that activity was re- mer. Their habits vary from struction trade, but Rotta aS. ^, even the most cynicalnesting pairs were recorded nest site is selected, but instated, those of the mature adults, said his father wanted some- gr=. 3ads, and tug at the heart- on the PNF. Today, the na- should something happen to One to three eggs are gen- Mature bald eagles tend to thing different for him. mena . , . . . . ngs of even the hardesttmn s symbol is on the in- the tree or the one nesting erally laid in the nest at a winter over in Plumas Coun. Choosing a field he knew leuer. crease, thanks to people like site is disturbed, the pair time, with at least one to two ty. Nesting territories are left he would like, he majored in s..h assthe'American bald eagle Rotta, who have worked tomoves on. successful offspring being until the following season, as wildlife biology at Humboldt time. chosen as the nationalhelp safeguard habitat for the Excluding the larger lakes raised. At that time, the pair the adults tend to band to- State. on June 20, 1782, despite birds. This year, on the PNF, in Plumas County, tradition- remains close to the nest. gether for communal living. Rotta's expertise, and his words and other 18 pairs of nesting bald eagles ally, one lake will only sup- Once the eggs hatch out, the Although trees are pre- job in wildlife biology on the have been recorded, port one pair of bald eagles, feeding frenzy begins, ferred for nesting, in the win- PNF, covers a wide variety of supporting the bald When the bald eagle was Rotta said. Antelope LakeFish are a main staple atter, bald eagles tend to choose animals and birds. thought it the ideal placed on the endangered currently has two pairs and this time, although small ani- sheltered outcroppings, Rotta Considering the ones that for a growing nation, species list, the goal was to they seem to be competingmals and birds will be said. interest him the most, Rotta of its long life, great raise the number of pairsfor the same food. snatched up, as well. In scouting the forest for said that, in the early years, majestic looks, from 500 to 800 in the main Lake Almanor, which is onAt Butt Lake, Rotta said bald eagles in the winterit was the game animals that inhabitants of otherpart of the United States. the Lassen National Forest, he's seen a bald eagle swoop months, Rotta said the best drew his attention. Then, he A began to arrive inIn 1999, the bald eagle was but is still of interest to Rotta, down and grab up one of the time to locate them is jm/t at became interested in birds. merica, some esti- moved from the endangeredhas a number of pairs. 15-pound carp that like to dawn, when they begin to "I don't really have a fa- put the bald eagle pop- list to the threatened list. Bald eagles are sensitive to come to the surface to sun. leave their winter area and vorite," he said. "I'm a gener- at about one-half rail. "I guess we met our 800 disturbances during nesting Since the fish is too large for fly out looking for food.alist of many species and a pairs," Rotta said. time. If the disturbances are the eagle to fly away with, it On open lakes, fish stillspecialist of none." as the country became man and bird were sti g for the same territo- In Plumas County, bald ea- frequently the same gle pairs select nesting sites in large trees within a mile of unmigration continued a lake, Rotta said. the bald eagle While immature birds---up Used as its traditional to four.and-a-half to five was lost to it, result, years old--have different pat- in the beginning of a de- terns, mature birds choose a population, mate for life, unless some- 1930s, people were thing happens to one of the to realize the bald pair. was in danger. By 1940, The pair traditionally se- Bald Eagle Act was lects a large, tall pine, with in an attempt to stop thick branches that are wide from continued effortsapart. stroy the bird and itsThe sturdiness of the tree is important--usually requlr- 1978, the United States ft. lng a tree of about 40 inches Came to terms with thein diameter and at least 100 losing feet tall--to support the size bald eagle. From the of the nest the couple builds that ruled the of twigs and branches. when the bird was cho- Admitting he's only viewed as a natiOnal symbol, its bald eagle nests from the bot- had fallen to about tom side, meaning he's on the ground looking up, Rotta said only was its habitat se- they can get as big as five feet threatened, but wide- across. The nest needs to be of DDT and other relatively large to support was destroying the the size of the large parents, i eagle, and then the one or two fledg- use was found to createllngs they attempt to raise. eggshells, which meant And, because a pair tends of the eggs produced to use the same nest year af- it through the in- ter year, the buildup of nest- Period. Other eggs ing material can get fairly didn't hatch, and thick, Rotta said. accumulation of The space between the in adult bald ea- branching is important be- stopped reproduction incause the wider spacing al- lows easy access to the nest