Southern California

Bald Eagle Count: Look Up and Help Out

Call upon the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains and see how our iconic winter visitors are doing.

You promised yourself. You swore up, down, and to everyone you know. You vowed you'd get outside more, in the new year, and enjoy the fresh air and some walking. You even wrote it down and pinned it to the fridge.

The new year has started, but perhaps your get-outside, enjoy-fresh-air plan has not. What if we were to tell you, as motivation, that no less than the bald eagles are depending upon you?

Okay, cue dramatic music: The bald eagles that visit the mountains of Southern California each year, with January and February being the big months, have a lot on their minds, and the exercise goals of we humans probably is not at the tippy-top of their busy lists.

But we can put the winged icon at the very top of our earthbound lists, for a day, by helping the Forest Service with its annual Bald Eagle Count in the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains.

There are actually a few counts going on during the winter, but the Forest Service has put out the call for keen-sighted eagle aficionados on Feb. 13 and March 12. Think you can at hang out at Big Bear Lake or Lake Hemet or another designated area and keep your peepers peeled (and tilted towards the skies and trees)? Then sign up to volunteer.

Four bald eagles were spied during the first count of 2016, which took flight on Jan. 9.

It isn't a sure thing you'll see one, but simply participating is an important part of lending our feathery brethren a hand, as well as the people at the U.S. Forest Service who want to keep tabs on our visiting bald eagles. 


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"Through this method, the agencies and land managers have learned a lot about which areas are important to eagles and how the populations are doing," says Robin Eliason, a Forest Service biologist, on the USFS site. "But we can't do it without a lot of volunteers -- we need people to put on their eagle eyes to help us search."

"The more eyes and ears we have helping, the more likely it is that we won't miss any eagles."

Time to get outside, eagle enthusiasts, and jumpstart that resolution. That birds will benefit is the big heart drawn around this particular adventure. Happy eagle-ing.

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