Environment & Science

Second bald eagle hatches near Big Bear

Screenshot from live eagle cam

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The second of two bald eagle eggs laid last month in Southern California has hatched in a nest watched for weeks by nature lovers via an online live feed.

The first fluffy white chick made its on-camera debut when it poked its head out of the shell Sunday near Big Bear Lake east of Los Angeles.The second egg hatched Monday.

The chicks hatched during a snow storm. Robin Eliason, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Forest Service, said the cold weather had her a little worried about the young birds' survival, but she was happy to see the eagle parents taking good care of their chicks. 

"Last night it was snowing and cold down to 2o [degrees] and mom was hunkered down on top of the chicks. Mom and dad have to work really hard to keep them fed and keep them warm and protected from the elements, but so far they're doing a good job."

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The Institute for Wildlife Studies web page has thousands of comments from people watching the nest cam feed. The camera was installed by the group Friends of Big Bear Valley.

The U.S. Forest Service estimates the chicks will leave the nest in about two to three months. At that point, Eliason said it's unlikely the young eagles will stay in Big Bear. Eagles are territorial so the eagle parents won't want to share space with the chicks once they're grown up. However, the chicks might still find a permanent home in Southern California, she said. 

"There are some other areas in the San Bernardino Mountains that have some good nesting sites that aren't occupied by nesting bald eagles so we're hoping that they'll stick kind of close to home."

The little eagles are being called "chick one and two" for now. By the end of the week, Eliason said they'll be named by third graders in the Big Bear school district.