Fifteen volunteers turned out to help the U.S. Forest Service with its annual bald eagle count last Saturday.
Photo by Peter Szabadi

Two permanent residents of Lake Hemet were counted in the 2016-17 census. The local pair of bald eagles, whose permanent nest is near Lake Hemet, was easily seen in Saturday’s bald eagle, one-hour count.

One of the two Lake Hemet eagles is resting in a pine near the lake (far left).
Photo by Peter Szabadi

During Saturday’s count, 11 bald eagles were spotted at four different lakes in the region. Bald eagles are usually found close to water because their diet is primarily made up of fish and ducks.

In Southern California, seven adult eagles and four juveniles were observed. “Bald eagles acquire the full white head and tail in their fifth year. Until then, they have different plumages of brown and white,” wrote Robin Eliason, wildlife biologist for the U.S. Forest Service’s Mountaintop Ranger District in the San Bernardino National Forest.

Besides the two adults at Lake Hemet, two were seen at both the Lake Perris State Recreation Area and Lake Arrowhead. The seventh adult and all the juvenile eagles were spotted at Big Bear Lake.

More than 100 volunteers participated in the count, including 15 at Lake Hemet.

The next bald eagle count will be Saturday, Jan. 14. The Forest Service also will conduct counts in February and March.

Lake Hemet participants should plan to meet at the Lake Hemet Market at 8:30 a.m. for orientation. Contact Ann Bowers (via email at [email protected] or call 909-382-2935) for more information, biologist for the San Jacinto Ranger District.

Other counts that day within the San Bernardino National Forest will be at Big Bear Lake, Lake Arrowhead, Lake Gregory, Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area and Lake Perris State Recreation Area.