FWC checks E. Manatee work site for bald eagle nest disruption

skennedy@bradenton.comSeptember 12, 2013 

The FWC is investigating whether this bald eagle's nest has been disturbed by a nearby construction site. PHOTO PROVIDED

EAST MANATEE -- Wildlife officials are investigating whether a bald eagle's nest has been disturbed at a construction site in Manatee County, officials said Wednesday.

The investigation began after volunteers trying to photograph birds at the site near State Road 70 and Lena Road questioned whether a construction company nearby was disturbing the nest, according to Gary Morse, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

They reported the incident to the FWC, and an investigator has been assigned to review the matter, said Morse.

"We do not know this is a violation, that's why we have an investigation," Morse said. "We're trying to determine if this is a violation and if so, to what level it rises."

Someone who answered the phone, but did not give his name at the construction site where Blackrock Development Holdings was working late Wednesday, said: "I haven't heard anything about it. I'm sorry."

Before hanging up he did acknowledge, however, he had talked to someone from the wildlife commission, .

"They have applied for a disturbance permit, but they don't presently have it in hand," said Morse. "What they're doing -- whether it's legal or not -- is yet to be determined."

Bald eagles are state- and federally protected birds, said Beryl Martin, an officer with the wildlife commission.

The investigator will check company permits and proximity of construction equipment to the nest, and any type of disturbance or noise in the area, Martin said.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter@sarawrites.

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