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This Bald Eagle Nest Cam in California's Big Bear Valley Will Melt Your Heart

bald eagles jackie and shadow sitting on their next in the snow at big bear valley in california february 11 2024
It's Almost Time for Bald Eagle Baby Watch 2024!Friends of Big Bear Valley

In California's San Bernardino Mountains, two bald eagles, Jackie and Shadow, have been making national news lately.

It started when Jackie laid a clutch of three eggs, instead of the more common two, in the last week of January. Then came an early February snowstorm, when she heroically stayed on her nest for nearly 62 hours straight—that’s over two and half days. At times, snow completely blanketed the dedicated mama-to-be. The entire saga was captured and live streamed to the world by a 24/7 solar-powered wildlife camera run by the nonprofit Friends of Big Bear Valley.

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"This is the longest time she has ever stayed on the nest incubating her eggs without a break!—61 hours 58 minutes!" the organization shared on its Facebook page, Friends of Big Bear Valley and Big Bear Eagle Nest Cam, which has more than six hundred thousand followers.

The next week, Jackie and Shadow's fascinating story was featured on ABC's World News Tonight with David Muir on Valentine's Day (appropriately enough for two love birds). However, this is not their first time in the limelight, even if they are wholly unaware of the attention.

The nest cam was originally installed in the fall of 2015 to observe two other bald eagles, Ricky and Lucy, who moved on before they could become reality stars. But the effort was not all for naught. As luck would have it, Jackie took over the empty nest and on-camera role in 2017, along with her first mate, Mr. B.

Jackie's first chick to successfully fledge the nest, Stormy, made national news in 2018. After Jackie's current mate, Shadow, came on the scene (he chased away Mr. B!), their chick, Simba, fledged in 2019, followed in 2022 by Spirit, who became the title character of a children’s book.

But nature can be tough. From previous years’ unviable eggs to chicks who did not survive, the camera captures all. As we wait for the first pip—that’s “the first hole in an egg that starts the hatching process,” according to the Friends of Big Bear Valley website—it’s a real nail-biter.

What to Know About Pip Watch 2024

Jackie laid her eggs on January 25, January 28, and January 31, which means the first pip could happen as early as February 29.

There are two main ways to join the pip watch: Visit Friends of Big Bear Valley's website, friendsofbigbearvalley.org, and open the Eagle Nest tab to view the 24/7 live stream, as well as read up on the history of the nest, FAQ, and latest developments. Or, for shorter videos, photos, and fun posts recapping major events, follow the Friends of Big Bear Valley’s Facebook page.

Though there's time yet before pipping, there are many fascinating things to learn and observe about Jackie and Shadow in the meantime.

For instance, it is Jackie's cozy layer of down, along with some 7,000 waterproof feathers, that allow her to weather a snowstorm on the nest. Shadow, for his part, is the most considerate mate. He brings Jackie fish and is always ready to swoop in for a shift on the nest, but only when Jackie says it's okay. And don't forget the flying squirrels Fiona and Fast Freddie who occasionally make a cameo.

But there's one way you cannot observe Jackie and Shadow, and that's in person. For their protection, the surrounding area is closed during nesting season and the exact camera location is undisclosed.

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