During the U.S. Forest Service’s second bald eagle count of the 2013-14 season, a pair of adult eagles was observed adding to their nest at Lake Hemet.
On Saturday Jan. 11, a grand total of 14 eagles (10 adults and 4 juveniles) were counted at the lake areas in and near the San Bernardino National Forest.
Besides the two Lake Hemet eagle residents, five eagles (including two juveniles) were observed at Big Bear Lake; three eagles (one juvenile) were seen at Lake Arrowhead; two adult eagles were seen at Silverwood Lake; one juvenile eagle was at Lake Gregory and one adult eagle at Lake Perris.
Juvenile eagles are distinguished by a brown head and tail, while adults are recognized by the iconic white head and tail. According to the Forest Service press release, it takes four to five years to acquire full adult coloration. Juvenile eagles are the same size as the adults.
Approximately 182 observers participated in the one-hour eagle census (56 at Big Bear area, 21 at Lake Arrowhead and Lake Gregory, 35 at Silverwood Lake, 32 at Lake Hemet and 38 at Lake Perris.
“It was a beautiful day for counting eagles,” noted Forest Service Biologist Anne Poopatanapong. Dexter and Stephanie Preston watched as an adult eagle took a fish from Big Bear Lake and flew away with a raven in hot pursuit.
The remaining bald eagle counts for this winter are scheduled for Saturday mornings, Feb. 8 and March 8.
Lake Hemet volunteers should plan on meeting at the Lake Hemet Market at 8:30 a.m. for orientation. Contact Anne Poopatanapong at [email protected] or (909) 382-2935 for more information.