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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_oQPPiY9JU
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?
How You Can Help The Eagles