Monday, March 13, 2006

Bald Eagles and the Snow

We've had such a nice winter .... weather-wize. That is, until the past couple of weeks. Actually, I was wishing for rain as we need it here in Southern California. While the temperature dropped into the 50's we didn't get any wet weather until the past week.

In the coastal regions the rain has been rather mild, but enough to get some moisture in the ground. In the higher elevations the latest storm coming down from Alaska brought much lower temperatures and snow to the mountains surrounding San Diego. In fact, the snow was as low as 2,000-3,500 feet depending on which day we are talking about. And boy, did they get snow ... enough to close the roads to Julian and Mt. Palomar. Now, that is pretty incredible to me ... since these places are less than a hour away from where I live, which is near the coast.

Thinking about the amount of snow that would cause road to close gave me concern about the nesting Bald Eagles I wrote a blog about on February 25th. The most recent sighting of these Eagles came from a birder that belongs to the San Diego Birding Group. The birder saw one of the Eagles at the nest and the bird looked like it was regurgitating food into the nest. To me, that can only mean one thing ... one or more chicks had hatched. This was within the last week or so.

So my concern is over the rain, snow and cold weather and how it would affect newly hatched chicks. I'm not an Eagle expert, by any means. So my concern maybe unnecessary ... but I still can't help but worry. Of course, Bald Eagles live in cold climates like Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. From what I can tell from my field guide their year-round range in these areas is along the coast, but it is still very cold there in the winter. So they must be well adapted to frigid weather. Our area is part of their winter range. I wonder if these Eagles are year-round residents or migrated here to raise their young. Lots to wonder about.

I hope the unexpectedly cold weather and snow isn't a hazard. I'm looking for an update on the Eagles via someone in the SD Bird Group. But I don't suppose anyone can get up there until the roads are open again. That should be soon. When the report comes I hope it is good news ... that the Eagle family is doing well. I'll go up to take a look as soon as I can. Right now it's not possible with a close relative in the hospital recovering from open heart surgery. Just no extra time for birding right now.

No comments: