Valley Center, CA
June 7, 2023
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Mostly cloudy

Bald eagles make a comeback locally

Our photographer Lenny Kerbs stumbled across this Bald Eagle and her chick last week. Typically bald eagles hatch one chick per year. Bald Eagles, which had once been on the Endangered Species List, have been making a comeback in the San Diego Backcountry.

It is the symbol of national power, majesty and freedom. It is awesome. It is the Bald Eagle, and, if you are lucky, you can see one near your own backyard. Although it’s more likely to be seen nesting and hunting near a lake.

Recently, readers started to tell The Roadrunner about seeing a nest with a mother Bald Eagle and a chick. Bald Eagles normally have two or at most three babies in the spring. We won’t say where you can see the eagle because it is on private property and you have to trespass in order to get near it. Also, it is not a good idea to disturb the mother and her baby. But if you know where to look you can view it from a distance.

Bald Eagles—which were once tapping on death’s door in the 1970s—began to claw their way back from extinction after DDT was outlawed in the early 1970s. The insecticide was causing their eggs not to be viable, with the resulting loss of many chicks.

According to local birder Ernie Cowan, who formerly wrote the Backyard Birdwatching column for the Union-Tribune, “It has been a slow but steady recovery for the Bald Eagle.” Nesting cycle by nesting cycle they have increased their numbers in San Diego’s Backcountry. The majestic birds can live as long as 20 years and have many offspring.

“Man, having now increased in population and built water reservoirs with fish, have provided an adequate food supply for them,” Cowan told The Roadrunner. “Any place where there is a lake you might see them. Sightings at all lakes are not uncommon. Any lake you can name people have seen eagles feeding.”

Cowan, who volunteers at the Highpoint lookout on Palomar Mountain, frequently sees Bald Eagles who might be feeding at Doan Pond or Lake Henshaw.

“It’s such a joy to see them,” said Cowan. “They are huge and breathtaking. When they are hunting at a lake they will swoop down and land on a tree and just sit there. You realize how huge they are and if you see them take a fish, the eye and talon coordination is just amazing.”

He added, “It’s also our national bird and so there is a symbol that goes with it. Something that represents our nation.”

Today the population of Bald Eagles in the U.S. has grown to 10,000 nesting pairs and they have been removed from the California Endangered Species List.

A Bald Eagle has a wingspread of about eight feet and are about three feet tall. It is second in size only to the California Condor.

One response to “Bald eagles make a comeback locally”

  1. Les Plagman says:

    I have viewed and photographed a Bald Eagle several times over the last few weeks along Lake Wohlford, in North San Diego county..

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