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Bald eagle counts will go on Saturday, but not at San Bernardino forest

Bald eagle counts will go on Saturday, but not at San Bernardino forest
A pair of bald eagles in a nest at Big Bear Lake. (Friends of Big Bear Valley)

The San Bernardino Mountains provide a winter home for the largest number of migrating bald eagles in Southern California. Each year, volunteers conduct simultaneous bird counts to help monitor the local population. However, Saturday’s scheduled events in the San Bernardino National Forest have been canceled because of the partial federal shutdown.

The U.S. Forest Service’s website says bald eagle counts that start at Big Bear Lake, Lake Arrowhead and Lake Hemet will not be held.

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Volunteers may still participate in counts at state park sites, which are unaffected by the federal funding lapse.

Interested citizen scientists (no experience necessary) may still take part 8 a.m. Saturday at:

-- Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area park office [14651 Cedar Circle, Hesperia. (760) 389-2303 or (760) 389-2281]

-- Lake Perris Yai Heki Regional Indian Museum [17801 Lake Perris Drive, Perris, in the Lake Perris State Recreation Area; (951) 940-5657].

Eagle counts also remain scheduled for Feb. 9 and March 9.

The public has helped collect data as part of an ongoing long-term monitoring effort that began in 1978.

Since 1978, Forest Service biologists have asked the public to help monitor the local population. In typical years, about 10 to 20 eagles make their temporary home in the local mountains.

Last year, volunteers counted 15 bald eagles, including two chicks born at a nest in Big Bear.

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