Bald Eagle Count Continues Near Palm Desert This Weekend, Volunteers Needed

Each year, migrating eagles begin arriving in Southern California in late November and leave in late March or early April, a Forest Service biologist said.

Nature lovers willing to brave the elements to look for bald eagles are being asked by the U.S. Forest Service to join rangers this weekend in the San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains.

The Forest Service will be conducting eagle counts Saturday morning around Big Bear Lake, Lake Arrowhead, Lake Hemet, Lake Perris and Silverwood Lake. Volunteers must be willing to commit an hour of their time to make map notations about where the predatory birds are nesting.

Four eagles were spotted at a similar count on Dec. 15.  Forest Service biologist Robin Eliason provided the following results to Patch:

  • Lake Hemet – 2 adult eagles; 12 observers
  • Lake Perris – 1 adult eagle and 1 juvenile eagle; 19 observers
  • Lake Silverwood – 0 eagles; 20 observers

The Big Bear Lake, Lake Arrowhead, Lake Gregory counts were cancelled due to winter road conditions.

If you'd like to get in on the counting this time around, no bird-watching experience is needed; just warm clothes and a pair of binoculars, according to rangers.

USFS spokesman John Miller 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, according to the USFS.

The Forest Service's 35th winter census got under way last month and will continue on sporadic weekends through the first part of March.

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 (reliason@fs.fed.us 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 (reliason@fs.fed.us 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: khwilliams@parks.ca.gov). 
  • Lake Hemet volunteers should plan on meeting at the Lake Hemet Grocery Store at 8:30 a.m. for orientation.  Contact Anne Poopatanapong (apoopatanapong@fs.fed.us 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.


--City News Service contributed to this report.


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