Big Bear Valley, CA — Twenty-seven volunteers joined U.S. Forest Service biologists at the Big Bear Discovery Center on Saturday morning, to participate in this season’s third American bald eagle count for areas that included Big Bear Lake and Baldwin Lake. During the one-hour count on the 13th, nine eagles were spotted in the Big Bear Valley and, of those, four were adults, and five juveniles (as indicated by their brown coloring, though juveniles are the same size as adult eagles). The San Bernardino National Forest’s February eagle count is part of the mid-winter bald eagle census, conducted since 1978 to determine the number of eagles wintering near lakes in the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains. As of this week, a total of 15 eagles (including the nine in our area) were spotted in the San Bernardino National Forest’s survey area, which also includes Lake Arrowhead, Lake Gregory, Silverwood Lake and Lake Hemet. Eagles winter in these areas, as they are within the Pacific Migratory Flyway, bringing millions of ducks which, along with fish, are food for the eagles. If you want to observe one of the nine eagles here in the Big Bear Valley, Forest Service biologists suggest looking in the tallest trees around the lakeshore or, when the lake is partially frozen (as it is now), look for eagles perched on the ice near small groups of ducks using open water pockets. December and January counts for our area indicated four and six eagles; highest counts for February were in 1979, when 27 were spotted in our area, and 1981, when there were 25. The next local eagle count will take place on Saturday, March 13.
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