By Susan A. Neufeld
San Bernardino, CA – On Saturday, December 9, the first bald eagle count of the winter season was conducted by Local, Federal and State Biologists, and citizen scientists around several lakes in Southern California’s Inland Empire. The program is part of an ongoing long-term monitoring effort that began 39 years ago, in 1978. Several dozen bald eagles typically spend their winter vacations around area lakes, adding to a few resident nesting bald eagles that stay year-round.
A total of nine bald eagles (six adults and three subadults/juveniles) were observed by 99 eagle-eyed citizen scientists during the count on Saturday morning.
Ken Kietzer, a senior environmental scientist at Lake Perris State Recreation Area, reported two eagles ( one adult and one sub-adult) were observed by 37 happy participants.
Eighteen participants watched a pair of courting adult bald eagles at Lake Hemet, sharing a meal of fish on the beach,” We had one group come all the way from L. A. They had such a good eagle show, they are planning to come back next month,” noted Ann Bowers, a biologist with the U. S. Forest Service. “Our eagles are great performers and love is in the air.”
Nine observers scanned the skies at Lake Arrowhead and Lake Gregory, spotting one adult bald eagle, and 35 participants helped with the census at Big Bear Lake, where four eagles (two adults and two sub-adults) were counted.
The count coordinators from the U.S, Forest Service and California State Parks would like to thank those participants for their dedication in getting up early and participating in the eagle censuses this winter. The success of the eagle counts is entirely dependent on the citizen scientists!
There are three more bald eagle counts this winter. They are scheduled for the following Saturday mornings:
January 13, 2018
February 10, 2018
March 10, 2018
No experience is needed. Signing up ahead of time is unnecessary – Just show up at the designated time and location, dress warmly, bring binoculars and a watch. Observers meet at one of the count locations for a short orientation and then they proceed to their observation sites where they record their observations between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Then they return to the meeting location to turn in the data sheet. The biologists use those data to determine the minimum number of eagles in the area.
EAGLE COUNT SITES
Big Bear Lake – volunteers will meet at 8 a.m. at the Forest Service’s Big Bear Discovery Center on North Shore Drive for orientation. Contact Robin Eliason (firstname.lastname@example.org or (909) 382-2832.
Lake Arrowhead/Lake Gregory – volunteers will meet at 8 a.m. at the Skyforest Ranger Station for orientation, or contact Robin Eliason.
Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area – Volunteers should plan to meet at the Visitor Center at 8 a.m. for orientation. Contact Mark Wright for more information (760) 389-2303.
Lake Hemet – Volunteers will meet at the Lake Hemet Grocery Store at 8:30 a.m. for orientation. Contact Ann Bowers (909) 382-2935.
Lake Perris State Recreation Area – Volunteers will beet at the Lake Perris Regional Indian Museum at 8 a.m. for orientation. For more information call Lake Perris SRA at (951) 940-5600.