Photo courtesy Friends of Big Bear Valley

The third bald eagle count of 2017-18 was very popular. More than 200 volunteers, twice the number of participants for the December count, helped the count on Saturday.

Locally, 14 participants observed the Lake Hemet nesting pair.

For the six Southern California sites, a total of 11 bald eagles — seven adults and four juveniles — were counted. A possible 12th eagle may have been spotted, but it was unconfirmed, according to the U.S. Forest Service press release.

During the December count, seven adults and two juveniles were seen.

At Big Bear Lake, where the nesting pair was anxiously awaiting the arrival of their first chick, two adults, the parents of the two eggs Saturday morning, were seen. A third eagle, a sub-adult also was spotted. However, the 114 volunteers believe they also saw a second juvenile, but biologists were not able to confirm this sighting.

Another two adults and one sub-adult were spotted by 26 participants at Lake Arrowhead. Twenty-five observers viewed one juvenile at Silverwood Lake and an adult was confirmed at Lake Perris.

The two participants at Lake Gregory did not observe any eagles during their viewing time.

The fourth and last winter bald eagle count for 2017-18 is scheduled for Saturday, March 10.

Lake Hemet participants should plan to meet at 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.

The Forest Service stresses that no experience is necessary. Signing up ahead of time is not required either.

Volunteers can just show up at the designated time and location. Dress should be warm to accommodate morning temperatures, and binoculars and a watch will be helpful. 

Brief orientations are conducted prior to the count so volunteers know where to go and what to do.