For those who have continued to keep watch on Big Bear's famous eagle couple, Jackie and Shadow, and their two eggs, the US Forest Service issued a statement Feb. 21 regarding the status of the hatching.
According to the San Bernardino National Forest statement, the two eggs were on day 44 and day 41 since the eggs were laid as of Friday, Feb. 21. Eagle eggs typically "hatch between 35-38 days; even giving them a day or two extra for slow development due to cold temperatures, the window of successful hatching is closing."
There had been no definite pip, or crash, in either egg. "At this point, we'll be very (pleasantly) surprised if either egg hatches," the statement reads.
There are several factors that could result in a nest failure. The eggs could have been infertile from the start. The embryos could have died during incubation for a variety of reasons (congenital defects, weather or environmental factors), or the chicks may not have been able to successfully break out of their shells.
"Chances are that Jackie and Shadow will continue incubation for another 10 days or so," the statement reads. "They'll start leaving the eggs unattended for periods of time that will lengthen each day. Unattended, the eggs may be preyed upon by ravens."
This is not an unusual phenomenon, according the Forest Service. "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 statement concludes.
The Big Bear eagle nest is on national forest land within an area that is closed to all public entry in order to protect the eagles from disturbance during the nesting season.
For more information about the Big Bear eagles and the eagle nest camera, visit the Friends of Big Bear Valley website at friendsofbigbearvalley.org.