In February, nine eagles were spotted in the Big Bear Valley.

The Big Bear Valley’s American Bald Eagle population has fluctuated over the last 22 years, during which time biologists from the San Bernardino National Forest have conducted counts during the winter months. Since the late ’70s, Big Bear’s eagle population has soared to as many as 35-40 and dropped to as little as six or seven in our area; during the most recent eagle count in February, there were nine eagles wintering in the Big Bear Valley and, surrounding the mountain lakes of the San Bernardino National Forest, a total of 15 eagles. The Forest Service’s radio tracking of American Bald Eagles has indicated that some of the same individual eagles return to the San Bernardino mountains each year, though they tend to move between Big Bear, Arrowhead and Silverwood Lakes—these same eagles have also traveled to Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Canada for the summer season. For those interested in observing the eagles, which tend to stay here through early April, the final eagle count of the season takes place this Saturday, March 13. Volunteers need not have experience, but are asked to bring binoculars and a watch and dress warmly. The Big Bear-specific eagle count begins at the Big Bear Discovery Center, on Big Bear Lake’s North Shore, at 8am; following a briefing by biologists, volunteers will scout for eagles along Big Bear Lake and in the Baldwin Lake area (until about 10am).