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. 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?

Would you?

How You Can Help The Eagles

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20 comments :

  1. I filed a complaint with Laury Parramore of the Fish and Wildlife Service Office in Falls Church. Any construction taking place this close to an eagle's nest requires an non-purposeful taking permit under the Golden And Bald Eagle Protection Act. Since the construction worker was unaware of the presence of the nest it seems likely the owners of the property did not obtain that permit. Dave Webster

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  2. I just called Virginia DGIF. I also forwarded this blog to Jeff.cooper@dgif.virginia.Gov
    He is the biologist working with eagles. Barbra Stanley

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  3. Here are some pictures I've taken as little as a couple weeks ago of these beautiful Eagles. This destruction of land is disgusting. Feel free to contact me at benwest@knights.ucf.edu for more pictures or usage

    http://imgur.com/a/aHLcU

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    1. Great Pictures, thanks for posting them!

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  4. I just called the US Wildlife office in Fredericksburg and left a message
    540-898-1755

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  5. Just spoke with us wildlife. They said they were aware of the contruction. These eagles also have a nest on the other side of the river so they are safe...destruction of wildlife habitat wins again.

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    1. That is BS. The Golden and Bald Eagle Protection Act also applies to inactive nests. Inactive nest – An eagle nest that is not currently being used by eagles as determined by the continuing absence of any adult, egg, or dependent young at the nest for at least 10 consecutive days immediately prior to, and including, at present. An inactive nest may become active again and remains protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Dave Webster

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    2. What River? There is no River nearby. I have tracked these eagles year round for many years. There are retention ponds in which they feed.

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  6. They are still returning and trying to use the nest by the construction. Photos appeared yesterday. They are being spooked by the construction. I'd like to see photos of this new "nest" US Wildlife is talking about.

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    1. yes, I saw them flying near the nest.

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  7. They have broken ground outside of the dates as outlined in the letter from the Dept of the Interior - the point of contact no longer works for Dept I.

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  8. Can someone make an list of Action Items that we can do? Perhaps we can post it to our Facebook pages and the Action Items could go viral? It seems as though there are a lot of educated people on this thread.

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  10. I posted on Facebook, sent emails, made phone calls. And it was just as Amber said in the video, the right answer, but I could hear the sadness in the wildlife workers also. They see this daily. Victor the last time this happened, do you have contacts with the newspapers?

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    1. A nice piece was written on WTOP yesterday. http://wtop.com/prince-william-county/2016/07/bald-eagle-nest-alters-construction-plans-in-manassas/

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  11. Not a positive piece on wusa, as they did not address the early start. Victor thank you for calling attention to this. I'm going to make a point of visiting, as they need to stop by December.

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  12. Sure they did. Rewatch. They pointed out the downed trees and the document stating no "clearing or grading" until August 1. I thought it was a great spot.

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