10 bald eagles spotted during January count

SAN BERNARDINO – More than 140 people participated in the winter bald eagle count in and around San Bernardino National Forest, Saturday, Jan. 13, observing 10 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:

In Big Bear Lake, five eagles, two adults and three subadults, were seen by 80 eager citizen scientists. This count included the pair that made news recently 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 will stream lives views of the nest day and night and can viewed at www.iws.org/livecams.html. Select “Big Bear Eagle Cam, Big Bear Lake.” To protect the eagles from disturbance, the area surrounding the nest is completely closed to all public entry.

In Lake Arrowhead, three eagles, two adults and a subadult, were spotted by nine citizen scientists.

The 10 Lake Hemet citizen scientists observed a pair of eagles.

In Lake Perris sadly, the 45 participants at Lake Perris State Recreation Area did not see any eagles this time; however, Ken Kietzer, a senior environmental scientist for California State Parks, said that they enjoyed a visit by two ospreys.

No eagles were spotted in Silverwood Lake by the 31 participants.

Count coordinators from the Forest Service and California State Parks thanked 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 citizen scientists.

The remaining bald eagle counts are scheduled for Saturday mornings, Feb. 10 and March 10.

Big Bear Lake area volunteers will meet 8 a.m. at the Forest Service’s Big Bear Discovery Center on North Shore Drive on state Route 38 for orientation. Contact Robin Eliason, reliason@fs.fed.us 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 day of the count, if it must be canceled. Contact the Discovery Center, (909) 382-2790, for information about eagle celebrations. There will also be a free slideshow about bald eagles 11 a.m. after the counts.

Lake Arrowhead and Lake Gregory volunteers will meet 8 a.m. at the Forest Service’s Lake Arrowhead Ranger Station on state Route 18 for orientation. Contact Robin Eliason, reliason@fs.fed.us 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 day of the count if it must be canceled.

Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area volunteers should plan to meet at the Silverwood Lake’s Visitor Center 8 a.m. for orientation. Contact Mark Wright for more information about volunteering or taking an eagle tour at (760) 389-2303 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. or email mark.wright@parks.ca.gov.

Lake Hemet volunteers should plan on meeting at the Lake Hemet Grocery Store 8:30 a.m. for orientation. Contact Ann Bowers, annbowers@fs.fed.us or (909) 382-2935, for more information.

Lake Perris State Recreation Area volunteers should plan to meet at the Lake Perris Regional Indian Museum 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, before they proceed to their observation sites and record their observations between 9-10 a.m. They return to the meeting location to turn in the data sheet at the end of the hour. The biologists use those data sheets to determine the minimum number of eagles in the area.

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