SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com) — Volunteers with an eye for birds will be needed this weekend for the 35th annual bald eagle count in the the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains.
KNX 1070’s Megan Goldsby reports wildlife officials say the event is a rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of the U.S. national symbol while serving the nation at the same time.
Volunteers will be stationed at vantage points around at Big Bear Lake, Lake Arrowhead, Lake Silverwood, Lake Perris, and Lake Hemet, where they will watch for bald eagles for a one-hour period on mornings scheduled between Saturday and into March.
After undergoing a brief orientation session, counters will observe the sky and mark down on maps and data sheets whenever they see one of the birds, which are endangered in California.
“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,” said U.S. Forest Service biologist Robin Eliason. “But we can’t do it without a lot of volunteers – we need their eyes to help us look.”
No experience is required to volunteer for the , and signing up ahead of time is unnecessary – anyone interested in participating is asked to show up at the designated time and location, dress warmly, and bring binoculars and a watch.
Since 1970, there were only about 30 pairs of bald eagles in California – all primarily in the northern third of the state – largely due to pesticides, according to wildlife officials.
But today, bald eagles are found in 41 of the state’s 58 counties, even exceeding 1,000 birds during some winters, officials said.
Click here for details on the U.S. Forest Service’s Bald Eagle Count.