Big Bear's star 3-month-old bald eagle leaves nest for first time

An eagle perched on the edge of a high nest at dawn
Spirit, a 3-month-old eaglet, prepares to fly out of the nest for the first time Tuesday near Big Bear Lake. (Friends of Big Bear Valley)

Spirit, a nearly 3-month-old eaglet who is the offspring of celebrity bald eagles Shadow and Jackie, took her first flight early Tuesday.

"Spirit has left the nest," the Friends of Big Bear Valley, which operates a livestream of the aerie above Big Bear Lake, announced on Facebook. "Spirit took her first flight this morning at 5:49:52! She started out like every other morning, stretching and flapping her wings and this time ... she just let go and flew in perfect form!"

In footage captured by the nest camera, Spirit — not yet sporting the bald eagle's iconic white head — can be seen perched at the edge of the nest before leaping from a branch and taking flight.

"Congratulations Spirit! Congratulations to Jackie & Shadow for raising the perfect eaglet," Friends of Big Bear Valley wrote on Facebook.

Footage from midday Tuesday showed the eaglet soaring in a cloudless sky.

"We have heard many vocals from all 3 eagles nearby, they are likely hanging out in the habitat close together," Friends of Big Bear Valley wrote.

Within 12 hours of Spirit's departure from the nest, the livestream camera showed her returning for a fish, "courtesy of Shadow," according to the Facebook page.

In the days prior to the maiden voyage, the eaglet had been approaching the edge of the nest and hovering for a few seconds before dropping back onto a perch.

"We are convinced Spirit is ready to fly, she just doesn't know it yet," Friends of Big Bear Valley wrote.

Spirit, who hatched in early March, is the first eaglet welcomed by Jackie and Shadow in two years. Previous eggs, including one laid alongside Spirit, were either nonviable or were eaten by ravens.

The Friends of Big Bear Valley has closely documented Jackie and Shadow for years as thousands of people followed along on the organization's livestream and Facebook group.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.