MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - Several Manatee County residents driving along El Conquistador Parkway were excited when they spotted a pair of bald eagles.
The federally protected animals were seen on top of a construction mound and that left them concerned. But the company, Medallion Homes, isn’t doing anything wrong after receiving a federal permit allowing them to continue to build single family homes on the site.
“Unfortunately there isn’t anything we can do, there isn’t anything Fish and Wildlife Commission can do, there isn’t anything that U.S Fish and Wildlife can do. It’s not up to them anymore because the protections have been taken away up in Washington," explained Wildlife Expert Gail Straight.
Straight owns the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center in Bradenton Beach. She says way too often she seen developers come in and knock down wildlife habitats and she says it’s morally wrong, even if in this case the company isn’t breaking any law.
“We have a big population of eagles here and in Sarasota and as they keep developing and developing it’s harder and harder for them to find a place to nest," says Straight.
She says because of increased development, eagles nest in anything they can find, even power lines. Not long ago she took in a bald eagle after it was found following a shock. She says that eagle will likely never be able to fly again.
“They do get zapped every once in a while because they take their fish and eat up on a line. It’s becoming a little too common because there are no trees left because they keep taking them down," says Straight.
Bald eagles are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which makes it a requirement for builders to have a federal permit if building within 660 feet of an eagle’s nest.
“Too close, way too close," says Straight.