WATCH: Big Bear Bald Eagles Lose First Three Eggs of 2021, Tries Again with Fourth

by Jon D. B.

Big Bear’s famous bald eagle couple, Jackie & Shadow, aren’t giving up. The pair is now protecting their fourth egg after losing three.

January was a tough month for many of us. Included in this sentiment is Big Bear’s prolific bald eagle couple, Jackie & Shadow. The mating pair lost not one or two, but three eggs in January, dashing their hopes for offspring time and again.

These gorgeous raptors refuse to quit on the future of their species, however. As such, the afternoon of Monday, February 8 brought their fourth egg live on Friends of Big Bear Valley’s streaming nest cam (below).

Jackie struggled little in laying, and “looks good and is now resting,” according to Big Bear’s Facebook coverage. “Shadow was by her side for much of the beautiful event.”

Before the fourth, two of Jackie’s eggs were eaten by ravens. The third broke during the laying process. Passion is paramount to the bald eagles, however, and the pair never left their nest – not even through pelting January snow.

Big Bear notes via The Sun that female bald eagles like Jackie “can have up to three two-week periods of fertility in a breeding season,” nature’s way of persevering amidst ravens, cracks, and snow.

Watch Big Bear’s Bald Eagle Coverage Live

During this breeding season, the U.S Forest Service shuts off access to the areas around Jackie & Shadow’s nest. Raptors are highly sensitive to human (and all potential threats) presence. As such, the USFS is giving the bald eagles their best chance at reproducing.

You can hop in on the Big Bear’s streaming nest cam at any time (see below). Intimate viewings like this go a long way in legitimizing conservation efforts in the eyes of the public. Most will never have the chance to see bald eagles this up close and personal within a lifetime. As such, it’s easy to dismiss their threatened status as something distant, or inconsequential.

Offering people a plain view into the affection a mated pair shows one another and their hatchlings, alongside the painstaking work required to rear another generation – works wonders for public perception in turn.

For instance, the monogamous nature of the species is a trait that helps folks identify – and sympathize with – our wild neighbors. Bald eagles mate for life, and pairs like Jackie & Shadow will not part unless the other dies.

Mates – and Homes – for Life

In addition, their nests are built as true homes, just like ours. Most mating pairs will return to their same nest year after year so long as it remains standing. And considering it takes up to 40 days for a single bald eagle egg to hatch, they’ll need their nest for no short period of time.

Knowing all of this, Californians (and Americans at large) are now far more likely to want to respect – and protect – these remarkable raptors.

For all the latest in wildlife and outdoors headlines, including 25 Amazing Facts About Animals We Hunt or Harvest in North America, stick with your fellow Outsiders. Up next: