Like many southern Californians, bald eagles love to spend their winter vacations in Big Bear. When the rivers and lakes freeze up north, the eagles head south for the plentiful food supply found in our open water. Along with an abundance of fish, the San Bernardino Mountains are also part of the Pacific Migratory Flyway, which is essentially a migration freeway for millions of ducks. Between November and April, the well-fed eagles are easily spotted in local waterways.
Since 1978, the United States Forest Service has conducted counts of this federally-protected species. Local data gathered by volunteers is used in a national study that assesses the recovery status of the species.
The next Big Bear Eagle Count is at the San Bernardino National Forest Discovery Center on February 12, from 8am - 10am. No experience is necessary to volunteer, but it’s recommended that you dress warmly and bring your own pen, paper and binoculars.
An additional count will be held on March 14. If you’re unable to attend an eagle count, you can still view eagles on a Discover Tour. On January 16th, head over to the Discovery Center for an introductory slide show and tour bus ride around Big Bear Lake. For information and reservations, call 909-382-2790.