eagle255vBald eagle counts have been conducted in the Big Bear Valley since 1979, and these winter counts overseen by the U.S. Forest Service contribute to the nation-wide Mid-Winter Bald Eagle Census to assess recovery status of the species. As many as 28 eagles were spotted in the Big Bear Lake and Baldwin Lake areas in the winter of 1983/1984 though, in the last three years, that number has averaged seven for our area. Two of this winter’s counts were called off due to heavy snow, though 50 volunteers contributed to the January count, which resulted in six eagles observed in Big Bear; these four adults and two juveniles made up half of the 12 total eagles counted in Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead, Silverwood Lake and Lake Hemet within the San Bernardino National Forest. Biologist Robin Eliason notes that our local count was a little lower than average, probably due in part to the fact that a large portion of the lake had been frozen over for several weeks; given this, ducks, the main prey for eagles, do not stay in the area. The next eagle count is scheduled to take place this Saturday morning, and volunteers are welcome to participate in the one-hour opportunity. Volunteers are asked to meet at the Big Bear Discovery Center for an 8am debriefing on the 14th before dispersing for the 9am count. No experience is necessary, though volunteers are asked to bring binoculars, watch and a pen; also, dress warmly and wear boots, as snow may still be deep in some areas.