By Zachary Behrens, U.S. Forest Service
SAN BERNARDINO—More than 140 people participated in Saturday’s winter bald eagle count in and around San Bernardino National Forest, observing a total of ten bald eagles. The seasonal count, which takes place during the winter months, is now in its 39th year and is organized by the U.S. Forest Service with California State Parks.
The eagle count locations reported the following:
Big Bear Lake: Five eagles, two adults and three subadults, were seen by 80 eager citizen scientists. This included the pair that made news this week for laying two eggs at their nest on Forest Service-managed land. If all goes well, the eggs should hatch in early February. A “nest cam” from the Friends of Big Bear Valley livestreams the nest day and night and can viewed at http://www.iws.org/livecams.html (Select “Big Bear Eagle Cam, Big Bear Lake). A video clip of the female weathering last week’s winter storm can be view here. To protect the eagles from disturbance, the area surrounding the nest is completely closed to all public entry.
Lake Arrowhead: Three eagles, two adults and a subadult, were spotted by nine citizen scientists.
Lake Hemet: A pair of eagles were observed by 10 citizen scientists.
Lake Perris: Sadly, the 45 participants at Lake Perris State Recreation Area were skunked and did not see any eagles this time. However, Ken Kietzer, a senior environmental scientist for California State Parks, reported that they enjoyed a visit by two ospreys.
Silverwood Lake: No eagles were spotted by the 31 participants.
Count coordinators from the Forest Service and California State Parks would like to thank 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!
The remaining bald eagle counts for this winter are scheduled for the Saturday mornings of Feb. 10 and March 10.
Big Bear Lake area volunteers will meet at 8 a.m. at the Forest Service’s Big Bear Discovery Center on North Shore Drive (Highway 38) 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 a.m. 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 a.m. after the counts.
Lake Arrowhead/Lake Gregory volunteers will meet at 8 a.m. at the Forest Service’s Lake Arrowhead Ranger Station on Highway 18 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 a.m. on the morning of the count if it has to be cancelled.
Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area volunteers should plan to meet at the Silverwood Lake’s Visitor Center at 8 a.m. for orientation. Contact Mark Wright for more information about volunteering or taking an eagle tour (760-389-2303 between 8 and 4; or email: email@example.com).
Lake Hemet volunteers should plan on meeting at the Lake Hemet Grocery Store at 8:30 a.m. for orientation. Contact Ann Bowers (firstname.lastname@example.org 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 a.m. for orientation. For more information call Lake Perris SRA at 951-940-5600 or the Lake Perris Regional Indian Museum at 951-940-5657.
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 9and 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.
By Zachary Behrens, U.S. Forest Service