On Saturday December 12th, the first bald eagle count of the winter was conducted by local Federal and State biologists and volunteers around several lakes in Southern California. Several dozen bald eagles typically spend their winter vacations around Southern California’s lakes. They migrate here because their prey animals, fish and ducks, are no longer available to them in the cold northern regions as ice covers the lakes and rivers.
A total of seven bald eagles were observed by 38 observers during the 1-hour count period on that Saturday morning: one immature bald eagle at Lake Perris; two adults and one immature bald eagle at Lake Arrowhead and at Big Bear Lake, two adult and two immature bald eagles. The eagle-eyed citizen scientists at Lake Perris were lucky to catch a sighting of an immature golden eagle as well. With more winter storms in the forecast, more migrant bald eagles are anticipated to be moving into the area over the next few weeks. San Bernardino and Riverside counties’ highest numbers of bald eagles are usually in January and February.
The count coordinators from the Forest Service and state recreation areas would like to thank those volunteers for their dedication in getting up early and participating in the eagle census. The success of the eagle counts is entirely dependent on the volunteers!
You can join in the upcoming bald eagle counts for this winter! They are scheduled for the following Saturday mornings: January 9th, February 13th, and March 12th. 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.
Big Bear Lake area volunteers will meet at 8:00 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) for more information. Please call 909-382-2832 for cancellation due to winter weather conditions – an outgoing message will be left by 6:30 am on the morning of the count if it has to be cancelled. Contact the Discovery Center (909-382-2790) for information about Eagle Celebrations. There will also be a free slideshow about bald eagles at 11:00 after the counts.
Lake Arrowhead/Lake Gregory volunteers will meet at 8:00 a.m. at the Skyforest Ranger Station for orientation. Contact Robin Eliason (email@example.com or 909-382-2832) for more information. Please call 909-382-2832 for cancellation due to winter weather conditions – an outgoing message will be left by 6:30 am on the morning of the count if it has to be cancelled.
Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area volunteers should plan to meet at the Visitor Center at 8:00 a.m. for orientation. Contact Kathy Williams or Mark Wright for more information about volunteering or taking an eagle tour (760-389-2303 between 8:00 and 4:00; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Lake Hemet volunteers should plan on meeting at the Lake Hemet Grocery Store at 8:30 a.m. for orientation. Contact Ann Bowers (email@example.com or 909-382-2935) for more information.
Lake Perris State Recreation Area volunteers should plan to meet at the Lake Perris Regional Indian Museum at 8:00 for orientation. Contact the office for more information at 951-940-5600.
The bald eagle nest at Big Bear Lake now has a live-stream nest camera installed. The nesting pair, Lucy and Ricky, is expected to start working on the nest any day now. They typically lay eggs in early or mid-January. Be sure to check it out: http://friendsofbigbearvalley.org/eagle-cam.html
See websites for additional information about the San Bernardino National Forest (http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/) and the California State Recreation Areas (www.parks.ca.gov).
About the U.S. Forest Service:
The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year.