Los Angeles

Caught on Camera: Off-Shore Quake Startles Eagle, Chicks in Santa Cruz Island Nest

A camera capture frantic moments in an eagle nest near the center of Thursday's magnitude-5.3 earthquake off the California coast

A camera on Santa Cruz Island caught the startled reaction of an eagle and three chicks Thursday when a magnitude-5.3 earthquake rattled Southern California.

The eagle family's nest is in Sauces Canyon on the western edge of the island, located just northeast of the center of the off-shore quake -- one of the region's strongest in recent years. The camera was likely the closest to capture activity near the quake's epicenter at the time of the shaking. 

As the tree and camera started to shake, the adult eagle can be seen briefly flying away before returning to check on the chicks. 

"I've never seen that before," said Dr. Peter Sharpe, of the Institute for Wildlife Studies. "The tree was really shaking." 

The chicks just hatched March 13, 14 and 16. The adult eagles were both raised at the San Francisco Zoo. The male was released on Santa Cruz Island in 2005, the female in 2006.

There were no reports of significant damage from Thursday's quake, the strongest in Southern California since the magnitude-5.1 La Habra earthquake in 2014.

Santa Cruz Island is part of the Channel Islands chain of eight islands off the coasts of Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Five of the islands are part of Channel Islands National Park -- San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, and Santa Barbara islands. They include Santa Catalina Island, a popular tourist destination off the LA County coast.

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