The season's first bald eagle count was a success in which four of the birds were spotted in the Inland Empire-- at two lakes near the San Gorgonio Pass, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The count was held Saturday, and was conducted with the help of local, Federal and State biologists and volunteers who stationed themselves around lakes in Southern California, according to John Miller of the San Bernardino National Forest.
"A grand total of 4 eagles (3 adults and 1 juvenile) were observed at the lake areas during the 1-hour count," Miller said.
Two of the adults were seen at Lake Hemet, while one adult and one juvenile were spotted at Lake Perris, he said.
"Juvenile eagles are distinguished by a brown head and tail; adults are recognized by the famous white head and tail - it takes 4-5 years to acquire full adult coloration," Miller said. "Juvenile eagles are the same size as the adults."
People were stationed at Silverwood Lake-- but they didn't see any eagles. Counts had been scheduled for Big Bear and Arrowhead lakes, but were canceled due to road conditions, according to Miller.
More Counts Coming Up, Volunteers Sought
If you'd like to help out the Forest Service with a bald eagle count, you'll have three more chances this winter: Jan. 12, Feb. 9 and March 9.
The counts this winter season are all scheduled on Saturday mornings. No experience is required for volunteers and no advance sign-ups are necessary.
"Just show up at the designated time and location, dress warmly, bring binoculars and a watch," the Forest Service advises.
Here are more specifics for each observation site:
- Big Bear Lake area volunteers will meet at 8:00 a.m. at the Forest Service’s Big Bear Discovery Center on North Shore Drive for orientation. Contact Robin Eliason (firstname.lastname@example.org or 909-382-2832) for more information. Contact the Discovery Center (909-866-2789) for information about Eagle Celebrations.
- Lake Arrowhead/Lake Gregory volunteers will meet at 8:00 a.m. at the Skyforest Ranger Station for orientation. Contact Robin Eliason (email@example.com or 909-382-2832) for more information.
- Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area volunteers should plan to meet at the Visitor Center at 8:00 a.m. for orientation. Contact Kathy Williams or Mark Wright for more information about volunteering or taking an eagle tour (760-389-2303 between 8:00 and 4:00; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Lake Hemet volunteers should plan on meeting at the Lake Hemet Grocery Store at 8:30 a.m. for orientation. Contact Anne Poopatanapong (email@example.com or 909-382-2935) for more information.
- Lake Perris State Recreation Area volunteers should plan to meet at the Lake Perris Regional Indian Museum at 8:00 for orientation. Contact the office for more information at 951-940-5600.