Jackie, a bald eagle, shakes dust from his feathers as he settles into a snowdrift overlooking a California valley.
Invisible to the eye, underneath is a cozy nest that is kept warm by the heat of its body.
Jackie has been protecting her three eggs from the elements since a powerful atmospheric river hit the region last week.
And unbeknownst to her, thousands of people are watching at any given time.
The 24-hour Big Bear Eagle Nest Cam was installed in 2015 and has since been broadcast to audiences around the world. It is sponsored by Friends of Big Bear Valley, a nonprofit conservation and advocacy organization.
Jackie, a 12-year-old bald eagle, carefully guarded her nest with her companion Shadow as a powerful atmospheric storm hit California last week.
The eagles live in a pine tree in the San Bernardino Mountains, about 100 miles east of Los Angeles.
Jackie laid two eggs about two weeks ago, followed by a third just before the storm hit.
As deadly storms hit California last week, 12-year-old Jackie and her partner Shadow braved the cold in front of the camera.
The couple lives high in the San Bernardino Mountains, about 100 miles east of Los Angeles.
Their nest has been in active use since the fall of 2013, according to Friends of Big Bear Valley.
The surrounding area, all national forest land, is closed to the public during nesting season, as bald eagles are known to abandon their nests when disturbed by humans.
Historically, birds only wintered in the Big Bear Valley to find food such as fish and waterfowl that was not available in the frozen lakes further north. Recently, the couple has taken up permanent residence.
About two weeks ago, Jackie laid two eggs. Just before the first storm hit, she gave birth to a third.
Once the snow came, he hunkered down and only took a break the next afternoon when the precipitation stopped. That’s when Shadow intervened.
Jackie and Shadow recently took up permanent residence in the valley. Historically, birds only wintered there to find food sources that were not available in lakes further north.
Once the snow came, Jackie hunkered down and only took a break the next afternoon when the rain stopped.
The pair took turns sitting on the eggs, as is typical for bald eagles.
Both males and females develop a featherless patch called a brood patch during nesting that allows them to keep eggs close to their body.
“This was the first time Shadow saw three eggs in the nest,” wrote Sandy Steers, a biologist and executive director of the organization.
‘She kept looking back and forth between them as she stretched her legs around them… but her legs didn’t go around them all when they were side by side.
‘”It had worked the day before…why wasn’t it working now?” Realizing that something was definitely different, or perhaps after counting them, she rolled the eggs closer together and stood on top.
The scene was momentarily peaceful. The nest provided a stunning vantage point of the melting lake and white dust-covered ground.
Then the wind came. As tropical storm-force gales rocked the nest, Shadow looked surprised. Fortunately, Jackie returned in time to take over.
The pair exchanged a few words in the form of tense chirps and swapped places.
Shadow retreated to a nearby branch as the wind shook his tree.
Once it started raining, Jackie took care of her eggs. When she turned into snow, the loving mother spread her wings, shook the dust off well, and persisted.
Shadow returned to the nest with a stick and Jackie allowed him to take his place in the nest.
The devoted mother was seen covered in snow in some spots, but did not move
At one point, Jackie sat on eggs for 35 hours straight.
While one parent guarded the nest, the other hunted or perched nearby.
Every time Jackie took a break, she and Shadow swapped places seamlessly.
“During inclement weather, eagles fly less and stay away from the elements,” Steers explained.
“While they are incubating, we can also notice that they are staying very still like Jackie has been, which is to conserve energy.”
Jackie only stood up to readjust herself before sitting back down, being careful not to harm her babies.
The pair took turns sitting on the eggs, as is typical for bald eagles. Both males and females develop a patch of featherless skin on their chests during nesting, which allows them to keep the eggs close to their body heat.
While one parent guarded the nest, the other hunted or perched nearby. As the storm moved, Jackie stayed still for 35 hours straight.
Eagles store food in the crop, a muscular pouch near the throat. They can go a day without eating anything.
Once the sky cleared, Jackie took a break and Shadow intervened.
The father was seen cautiously turning the eggs with his beak. The eagles will do this once an hour to ensure that they are heated evenly and that the embryos do not stick to the inside of the shells.
The birds’ lives are documented 24/7 by the Big Bear Eagle Nest camera, which was installed in 2015.
Friends of Big Bear Valley, the group that sponsors the chamber, says the nest has been in use since 2013.
Even when it snowed, Jackie stayed perfectly still to conserve energy.
The breeding season in California generally lasts from January to July or August.
Incubation lasts about 35 days. Last year, Jackie and Shadow lost their clutch of two eggs after they took too long to hatch and were eaten by crows.
The breeding season varies depending on latitude; in California, it generally runs from January to July or August.
Incubation lasts about 35 days and the chicks fledge when they are 11 or 12 weeks old.
February 29 marks the start of ‘pip watch,’ according to Friends of Big Bear Valley. When the eggs hatch, a loving audience will surely tune in.
But for Jackie, it will be just another day in the life of a mother.
She delivered two eggs in January last year. A month later, Steers expressed her concern after a record snowfall hit the valley.
Ultimately, the eggs took too long to hatch and the eagle pair suffered a traumatic loss in March when crows ate their clutch, live on camera.