Jackie, Big Bear’s beloved bald eagle whose venture into motherhood have been caught on a live camera since 2017, on Wednesday laid her first egg of 2023.
Believed to be about 10 years old, Jackie was spotted on a live camera just after 3 p.m. Wednesday standing on her nest and puffing out her feathers, a sign that she might be going into labor, according to Friends of Big Bear Valley, a group that runs the live-stream camera aimed at the eagle’s nest.
“Making her usual tea kettle whistles as she pushed the egg out, she was in labor for about 6 minutes,” the group announced on a Facebook post. “And then there was a beautiful egg!”
Jackie had apparently made a dozen visits to the nest Wednesday, which sits atop a tall tree in the San Bernardino National Forest in an area closed to the public north of Big Bear Lake.
During each visit, the eagle appeared to be bringing and rearranging sticks and fluff before finally going into labor.
Jackie has paired with a male bald eagle, Shadow, who also visited the nest Wednesday morning and was spotted in a nearby perch when the egg was hatched, according to the organization. The hatchlings have in the past been named by third-grade students in the valley.
“From what he’s done in the past, he seems to know to stay close but not too close during this process,” the post read.
The bald eagle nest camera has been in use since 2013, recording the lives of two previous resident eagles named Ricky and Lucy. The two abandoned the nest in 2015 and are believed to have left the area sometime in 2016 but in 2017 a new female, Jackie, took over the nest with the equipped camera.
The camera captured Jackie laying eggs in 2018 and recorded as they hatched. One died after a severe storm, but the second, named Stormy, left Big Bear Valley later that year.
Jackie again laid eggs in 2019, with a different mate. Both hatched, but one died before successfully leaving the nest.
In 2020, two more eggs were laid but neither hatched. In January 2021, she laid three eggs, but they were destroyed and appeared to have been left unattended by the couple for extended periods of time.
She laid a second pair of eggs in February, one which hatched in March, but the chick appeared to die soon afterward. The second appeared not to hatch after the normal incubation period, and the couple began to leave it unattended until it cracked.
In 2022, one of Jackie’s two eggs of the season hatched in March and was named Spirit.
For now, officials said the famous bald eagle has already started to change her behavior with the new egg.
“Jackie is in full mama mode,” the group said on Facebook.