The removal of the nest is unpopular, sad, and unfortunate and for many of us at the Garden it is like a death in the family. However, birds and airplanes don’t mix. There has been considerable discussion about “liability”, “what if”, opportunities missed and solutions not undertaken. However, the most immediate concern is the protection of life – both human and eagle. The likelihood of an eagle taking down a multi-engine airliner can be debated. But it is pretty much a given that an eagle will not survive a collision with an airliner.
And, isn’t the love of eagles, their well being and survival what we are all most committed to? If action is possible that will reduce the chances of even one eagle being killed by an aircraft it is action that should be taken. Nest removal is basically an action that is being undertaken to increase the odds that there will not be future eagle deaths attributed to aircraft at Norfolk International Airport. It is also increasing the odds that there will not be human loss of life that may occur at the same time.
At the Norfolk Botanical Garden board meeting on Thursday, September 27, the board voted to create a task force to meet as soon as possible to gather information and review the eagle nest issue. Subsequent to that meeting, the task force, including board members and Scott Barras of USDA APHIS/WS met on Friday, Sept 28. They brought their recommendation and findings to a special board meeting held this morning, Wednesday, October 3. After much discussion, the board approved the following motion in regard to the eagle nests at the Garden.
In order to protect the people who fly in and out of our fair city and to protect the eagles, we, the Board of Trustees of Norfolk Botanical Garden, regretfully accede to the decision of the City of Norfolk, under the recommendation of the USDA, the VDGIF, and the FAA, to remove the eagle nests and we resolve to work closely with the USDA, the City, and Norfolk International Airport to ensure that the dispersal techniques do not disrupt the tranquility of the Garden and, furthermore, NBG will be briefed on the timing and type of dispersal techniques which will require NBG’s permission prior to execution.
Also, in recognition of the unique situation that exists between the Garden, the Airport and naturally occurring wildlife, which is encouraged at the Garden and discouraged at the Airport, it approved the following motion.
Norfolk Botanical Garden is to take the initiative to facilitate a public discussion inclusive of all parties to collectively look at future measures to protect all species germane to the health of NBG.
For City of Norfolk information about the nest removal, please see this statement.