Jackie and Shadow are the most adorable Bald eagle couple. For me, they rank right up there with Blue 33 and Maya, the Osprey adults at the Rutland Manton Bay nest.
If you do not know them, Jackie and Shadow have their nest high in the San Bernardino National Forest, west of Los Angeles. This nest has been actively used by Bald eagles since 2012. The first occupants were named Ricky and Lucy. It is believed that Jackie is their hatch from 2012 – indeed, the first Bald Eagle chick to hatch ever in Big Bear Valley. Jackie remained in the Big Bear Valley. At the time the lake froze over in the winter, so the eagles were only resident during the summer months for breeding.
In 2017, Jackie, took over the abandoned nest of Ricky and Lucy. Her mate at the time was Mr B. They mated but no eggs produced as Jackie would have just been turning 5. In 2018, Jackie successfully hatched 2 chicks, BBB and Stormy. The weather was cold when the chicks were too large to get under her for brooding. BBB died but Stormy survived. Stormy was banded. The band was purple with the code JR1. Stormy fledged on April 26, 2018 leaving the area.
A rather tenacious male intruder showed up at the nest of Jackie and Mr B before Stormy fledged. That male refused to leave. Onlookers at the time believe that this male is Shadow, another one of Ricky and Lucy’s fledglings. Mr B left and that male was Shadow. Is it Jackie’s sibling? The Friends of Big Bear believe this Shadow to be a year older because of its plumage than the Shadow that hatched in Big Bear would have had at the time. Without tags or DNA tests (if samples were available), it will not ever be known for sure if the couple are or are not siblings.
The following year, 2019, Jackie’s two eggs hatched. The chicks were called Simba and Cookie. Cookie died during a rain and snowstorm. Simba was banded ZJ1. Both chicks were males. Simba fledged on 23 July. He was last seen in the area on 18 August, 2019.
In 2020, Jackie and Shadow’s eggs failed to hatch. They incubated them for more than 60 days. The eggs were eaten by Ravens with onlookers not seeing any chick development inside.
Sadly, in 2021, Jackie and Shadow laid two clutches. None of the eggs survived to hatch.
This year the couple have laid two eggs and have been very conscientious about incubation and security. The world watches with them, 6789 persons at last count on line, hoping for two miracles.
Jackie gets up to inspect the egg and listen to the chick.
Shadow joins her to share in this precious moment.
Incredibly touching. I am sure that both of them marvel at the thought that just maybe this baby will survive.
The pip is much larger.
It is so hoped that this wee one will have the energy to get through that shell and hatch. Send warm wishes to this couple who literally deserve ‘a break’ – a big one in that shell right now so that baby can get out. I hope that the weather stays warmer and none of the chicks experience the cold rain and snow that has plagued this nest high in the mountains.
Thank you to the Friends of Big Bear Valley and their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.