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Co-Parenting Big Bear Bald Eagles Take Turns to Keep Their Eggs Warm


The historic winter storm that brought at least 45 inches of snow over the weekend does not seem to affect Jackie and Shadow, the bald eagles who have been incubating a pair of eggs for the past 40-plus days in Big Bear.   

The live footage captured by Friends of Big Bear Valley from early Monday morning showed one of the eagles warming on the egg surrounding by a thick layer of snow while looking out to the snow-covered mountains. While Big Bear’s overnight temperatures have been dropping to below freezing, the birds are made to weather the cold temperatures.

“They each have over 7,000 water-proof feathers covering their body, so the snow they shake of does not even make them wet,” Friends of Big Bear Valley said in a Facebook post. “And under those feathers is a thick layer of down feathers that keep their body warm. It is like they are wearing a thick down jacket or wrapped in a waterproof comforter all the time.”

Tens of thousands of people are watching the live cam to see when the eggs will hatch. The non-profit said more than 15,000 people logged onto their YouTube page at one point last week to watch the birds nesting.

Jackie’s eggs hatched at around 38 to 39 days in the past, but Friends of Big Bear Valley said “external conditions” like temperatures and weather patterns could influence the timing.

Earlier images from the weekend caught a moment of the “shift change” when the co-parenting birds were taking turns to take over the nest duty. Jackie and Shadow were seen doing parenting tradeoffs to keep the eggs fully covered and protected amid the bad weather.


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