Saturday, July 23, 2016

How You Can Help the Manassas Bald Eagles

It is becoming increasingly apparent that the City of Manassas, the Virginia Department of Inland Game and Fisheries, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and, of course, the developer on the land, have very little interest in protecting the bald eagles' habitat near the Manassas airport. We've witnessed each of these entities pass the buck from one to the other with no results. If you don't know what is happening, read this.

But YOU can make a HUGE difference:

1. Contact the news media and tell them what is going on: CNN (also online form), FOX (888-369-4762, press 3), MSNBC, WJLA, Clinton, Trump, etc. Try to get investigative reporters and "on your side" people. The Bald Eagle is the Nation's Symbol of Freedom. This is the kind of story they like. National attention will get other U.S. citizens involved. You can share with them this link.

2. Document by photos and video the construction and the eagles from now and through all the construction taking place over the next several months. Get pictures and video of the birds near or on the nest. Take pictures of the birds reacting to the construction. Note any signs of stress in the birds, attempts by the birds to build nests elsewhere, or other issues that will show that the construction has had an effect on their livelihood. Take these photos from the PUBLIC region outside the site and DO NOT DISTURB or ANTAGONIZE the people doing the construction.

3. Capture VIDEO INTERVIEWS in front of the construction site of people concerned about the eagles and ask them how they feel about the construction. Tell your children that the eagles may not come back or may get hurt because of the construction, and get their reactions. Again, stay on the public sidewalks.

4. SHARE your videos and photos relentlessly on Facebook and Twitter with everyone. Also, follow along at the Manassas Airport Eagles Facebook page.

5. TWEET these country music stars and ask them to draw attention to what's happening in Manassas, Virginia. You can share with them this link. Maybe someone will buy the small plot of land and preserve it.

@DollyParton, @TheTimMcGraw, @FaithHill, @Reba, @Clint_Black, @ShaniaTwain

6. Consider who you vote for in the November 8 elections. If the current councilmen and women do nothing to stop this, and they won't, you can remove them from office. The American Bald Eagle is our nation's symbol. If our own representatives can't protect it, what good are they? The City could have easily purchased that small parcel of land and extended the Cannon Branch Fort Park years ago when the eagles started nesting there. This will send a message that some things are more important than office park development.

Thank you for all your help!


Update: 7/23/2016. This is the leasing company's sign and contact information at the site.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Destruction of Manassas Bald Eagle Homeland Has Begun

Update 7/27/2016: WUSATV9 covers story.

Update 7/25/2016: Heartbreaking video of continued construction and interview with one of the many concerned residents, Amber Taylor.

Update 7/23/2016: How You Can Help The Eagles

It has only been 16 months since I first reported on a bit of construction that took place in front of a bald eagle nest in Manassas, Virginia. The post went viral, the story ended up in all the papers, and the City of Manassas reassured the public that the eagles would be safe. Today I returned to that site when I got word that they were now clearing down all the trees and brush directly in front of that nest, thereby destroying the eagles' refuge.

Here is the video I shot today, July 21, 2016. I spoke to one of the construction crew members and he was unaware that there was a nest there. You can hear me talking to him at the end of the clip. He continued to tell me that at other sites he's worked on, they were advised to cease construction when an eagle nest was present.

Typically, this time of year adult eagles and their juveniles will seek out other nearby areas to forage for food. I'm certain the City will use that as their defense, saying that the nest is no longer "active." However, I spoke to one of the proponents of the eagles' safety, Ann McIntyre, who told me she had spotted one of the adults and a juvenile returning to the nest just prior to the construction a week ago. She has not seen them since. It was because of Ann and other naturalists that the City erected this sign across the street to protect the eagles. Seems a bit odd now with a construction vehicle in the background. Odd and disingenuous.

I'm certain the City will call in their go-to Fisheries and Wildlife guy, who will say that this is not doing any harm to the eagles. He'll say that bald eagles are no longer on the endangered species list, which is true, and that distance guidelines for construction near a nest are simply guidelines, not requirements or laws...anymore. He'll also repeat that since the eagles have become used to the noise and commotion of the nearby Manassas Airport and railroad line, this will not bother them as well.

But now their immediate nesting area has been taken away. Gone. Removed. And whatever gets erected there in the coming months, mere yards away from the nest, will most certainly have an impact on them. Will they return to the nest to live and raise offspring this fall?

Would you?

How You Can Help The Eagles

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Dumpster Toy Puppy Comes to Life

What would you do if you an inanimate object suddenly came to life? Author Victor Rook describes what happened one Sunday afternoon while taking out the trash.

"I got out of my car to toss away an empty box. As I was about to drive away, my eye caught what appeared to be a stuffed toy animal on its side partially hidden around the back of the bin. It made me wonder why anyone would toss out such a cherished item. Maybe it was torn or dirty. Surely it could be cleaned up. Or maybe someone outgrew it. I told myself to just drive away, but then I looked back one more time. That's when I noticed the toy puppy was now standing on all fours and looking right at me! I had to do a double-take. It just looked at me with its pink tongue sticking out. I couldn't believe what I was seeing!"

Rook first thought that a gust of wind had brought it back up, but there wasn't even a breeze. And upon inspection, the stuffed animal wasn't a battery-operated or animated toy.

"Well, of course I took this as a sign. I had to rescue it from certain death. I couldn't see this creature crushed in a dump truck or buried in some landfill for eternity. It needed a home."

Rook says that Diver, the name he's given the toy puppy after "Dumpster Diver," really wasn't that dirty at all. Its tongue just had a tiny tear in it. After spending a little time with Diver himself, he plans on donating the lost and found toy puppy to a welcoming home this Christmas.

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