By Susan A. Neufeld
Big Bear Lake, CA – Last week, a bald eagle near Big Bear Lake laid two eggs, just in time for the public January bald eagle count on Saturday, January 13. The eagle and her mate are year-round residents of the area. The eggs should hatch after about 35 days – around February 10.
“This is part of the story of bald eagle population recovery nation wide. Only a few decades ago, bald eagles were considered an endangered species,” said Robin Eliason, a U.S. Forest Service biologist. “We think these are the fist eggs laid by this young female. We do not know for sure because she’s not banded, but some of us are convinced that the female is the first bald eagle recorded to be hatched in the San Bernardino Mountains, which was in 2012.”
Bald eagles will abandon nests if disturbed, the Forest Service has closed the area to all public entry through June 22, 2018, during the nesting season. ” We are very concerned about people trying to get close for photographs, viewing, etc.” said Elison
Better viewing can be found from the comfort of one’s home, anyway. The nonprofit group Friends of the Big Bear Valley installed a livestream camera on the nest in 2016 which is still active today (choose “Big Bear Eagle Cam, Big Bear Lake” under the Live Nest Cameras” list at Insitute for Wildlife Studies, located at http://iws.org/livecams.html
Four eagles, including the nesting pair, were spotted around Big Bear Lake by 35 citizen scientists at the December bald eagle count. Nine total were spotted at all eagle count sites, which are located at six different lakes throughout the Inland Empire, in San Bernardino National Forest and at two California State Park sites.
The next bald eagle count will be Saturday, January 13, 2018.