It’s looking less likely that two eggs laid by Big Bear’s resident bald eagle mama Jackie will successfully hatch, officials said in a somber announcement Friday.
Jackie and her mate Shadow have been diligently monitoring the two eggs since they were laid on Jan. 8 and Jan. 11 respectively.
Both are beyond the window that bald eagle eggs typically hatch, which is about 35 to 38 days, according to a Facebook post from the U.S. Forest Service. Officials initially anticipated the event to happen around Valentine’s Day.
But a pip — that is, a small crack caused by the eaglet poking a hole in its shell — hasn’t been observed in either egg from the 24-hour camera that monitors the eagles’ nest.
The odds of the eggs hatching are diminishing each day, according to forest officials.
“At this point, we’ll be very (pleasantly) surprised if either egg hatches,” the post stated.
If that doesn’t happen, Jackie and Shadow will likely continue incubating the eggs for at least another 10 days. After that, they may leave the nest unattended, and those periods will lengthen each passing day.
While the pair are gone, ravens may prey upon the eggs. Another possibility is that Jackie and Shadow could consume them themselves if they break in the nest, officials said.
Nest failure can result from a variety of factors; for instance, the eggs may not have been completely fertilized during mating, the embryos possibly died during incubation or the eaglets were unable to break out of their shells, according to the Forest Service.
“Sometimes Mother Nature can be harsh and disappoint us with our human hopes. Getting a glimpse into the daily lives of this beautiful bald eagle pair has been a real treat,” the Facebook post read. “Bald eagles have a very strong fidelity to their nest sites; thus, it is likely that they’ll be nesting in the same place next season.”
The area around the nest has been closed off to the public to protect the bald eagles from being disturbed during nesting season.