An eaglet displays is feelings after its first human interaction. Photo by Careena Chase

Lake Hemet’s resident eagle pair has produced a least one eaglet and perhaps two again this year, according to John Ehrenfeld, the Forest Service volunteer who monitors them.

“Yes, we have bald eagle chicks at Lake Hemet this year,” said Anne Poopatanapong, San Jacinto Ranger District Biologist. “This pair of bald eagles is very productive and the Forest Service is very pleased that the birds are using the artificial platform that we had built last fall.”

The eagles’ nest sits 55 feet above the ground on the platform and eaglets are very small. It was difficult to verify with certainty whether both eggs have hatched; but this week Ehrenfeld and verified one male and one female eaglet. He was helped by Jeep Pagel, Raptor Ecologist from Carlsbad, Dr. Peter Bloom, a Research Biologist from Tustin, and Joe Papp, Biologist and tree climber from Wisconsin

Jeep Pagel, Raptor Ecologist from Carlsbad, is holding a 5-week old female eaglet while John Ehrenfeld, Forest Service Volunteer and Eagle Nest Monitor, carefully observes. Photo by Careena Chase

On Tuesday, April 26, the Forest Service band the two eaglets.

The pair of adult bald eagles at Lake Hemet produced a male and female eaglet this spring.

Also later this spring, when they are big enough, the eaglets will be expected to fly off and find their own home.

“Eagles are very territorial,” Ehrenfeld said. “Lake Hemet is only big enough for one pair of eagles.”

The two 5-week old eaglets are banded with light weight size 9 aluminum alloy bands. The bands will identify the birds, their migration patterns, and age. Dr. Peter Bloom, a Research Biologist from Tustin, and Joe Papp, Biologist and tree climber from Wisconsin, also gathered feathers, blood samples, and fragments of egg shell to track genetics, any presence of DDT, lead, or other toxins.

In October 2012, a group of volunteers constructed the new bald eagle nesting platform at Lake Hemet. Ehrenfeld had discovered that high winds demolished the previous nest and its support platform. Forest Service volunteers raised $1,100 to rebuild the platform.

A platform is necessary to help the nest and their eaglets survive. An average nest can eventually weigh several tons with the parent eagles adding more branches each year before mating.

One of Lake Hemet's resident bald eagles pictured March 2012. Photo by Careena Chase