Big Bear’s famed bald eagle pair Jackie and Shadow welcomed their first egg of the year this weekend.
Just before 3:45 p.m. Saturday, Jackie laid the egg live on the widely viewed bald eagle camera, according to Friends of Big Bear Valley, which manages the live feed of the couple’s nest. The video was then uploaded on the organization’s Facebook page.
Jackie’s “labor” lasted about five minutes, the Facebook post stated.
“Though we did hear some squeals (tea kettle sounds), it didn’t seem as loud as previous years and the process seemed to go smoothly,” the post read. “Many ask if she feels pain, we are sure she does, but to what level of discomfort we do not know.”
It’s possible Jackie could lay one or even two more eggs, which is typical for a clutch, according to the San Bernardino National Forest. If her previous egg-laying patterns hold, a second one could come as early as Tuesday.
Until the last egg of the clutch is laid, Jackie will likely be standing near or hovering over the egg periodically rather than staying on it full-time, something that will delay incubation.
“This allows the egg(s) to cool down and it slows development so all eggs will hatch closer together, giving the younger chicks a better chance of survival as they are all closer in size/age,” Friends of Big Bear Valley explained.
The incubation period for a bald eagle is about 35 days.
Fans of the nesting pair are hoping for a positive outcome this time around, as the past few egg laying seasons have brought a string of tragedies to Jackie and Shadow.
Last January, their first of three eggs in the clucth was cracked and devoured by ravens within 24 hours of it being laid. Another egg met a similar fate, while the third broke during the laying process.
Jackie laid a second clutch with two eggs in February, but alas, the eaglet from the first died during hatching. The other egg didn’t hatch at all, a fate that befell both eggs she laid in 2020.
The last time her eggs successfully hatched was in 2019, but even then, only one of the chicks ultimately survived.
As has been the case in previous years, the area around the couple’s nest — which is within the San Bernardino National Forest on the northwest side of Big Bear Lake — has been closed off to the public.
However, people can still follow Jackie and Shadow through the Big Bear Bald Eagle Live Nest Cam, which streams live 24/7 on YouTube.