Valley News -

Volunteers needed for eagle-watching expeditions


Last updated 12/5/2018 at 10:43am

PERRIS - Outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers who want to help track the number of bald eagles that settle in the San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains this winter are invited to take part in the U.S. Forest Service's annual eagle count, beginning next week.

The agency's winter census is slated to start Dec. 15 and continue on sporadic weekends until the first half of March.

Volunteers are needed to watch for activity in traditional nesting areas around Big Bear Lake, Lake Arrowhead, Lake Gregory, Lake Hemet, Lake Perris and Silverwood Lake.

"Over the past four decades, we've witnessed the bald eagle population recover from low numbers to a healthy population under the protection from the Endangered Species Act,'' said USFS biologist Robin Eliason. "Eagles are now doing so well, they are no longer considered an endangered species. With the public's continued help, we are able to track population trends in the forest.''

Participants need no prior experience -- just warm clothes, a pair of binoculars and an hour to spare for each count, according to agency spokesman Zach Behrens.

He said each eagle count will be preceded by a brief orientation meeting at designated locations.

Eagles generally nest in the lakeside areas from late November to early April. Radio tracking devices attached to some birds show that, in a given year, they can migrate to the Inland Empire from as far north as Alberta, Canada.

Because of hunting and habitat destruction, the American bald eagle was nearly driven to extinction in the previous century. The birds were declared endangered in the 1970s. However, with some 10,000 breeding pairs identified across the continental United States, they were removed from the Endangered Species List in 2007.

Anyone interested in volunteering for the eagle count at Lake Hemet is asked to call (909) 382-2935; at Lake Perris, (951) 940-5600; Big Bear Lake, or Lakes Arrowhead and Gregory, (909) 382-2832; and Silverwood Lake, (760) 389-2303.

Rangers noted that eagle counts will be canceled during inclement weather.

More information is available at .


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