Posted on August 22, 2012 at 6:58 PM
Wednesday, Aug 22 at 7:05 PM
NORFOLK -- There are those who created hobbies around them and those who created friends because of them.
Long-time Eagle Cam fan Roseann Coon says there's a special bond between fans of Norfolk's famous eagles. "It's a family. We have people from every country. We chat with them. They come to visit us."
Norfolk Botanical Garden has enjoyed the visitors who have come from the large following, to the tune of about $9 per person for admission, plus donations from supporters.
No more eagle nest means no more Eagle Festival.
"Without the eagles they won't come," said Donna Krabill of Norfolk Botanical Garden.
She says 300,000 people visited the park last year and while she doesn't know how many were because of the eagles, the Garden decided to launch an eagle website for the fans.
Last year, the community mourned the death of the adult female eagle who died in a commercial airplane strike....now the federal government wants the nest to come down for the safety of travelers.
"They've experienced loss, and now they have to deal with another loss," said Krabill.
Eagle Cam fan Patricia Ewing recognizes the risk of having the eagles near a busy airport runway. "I know that the liability on their end is pretty significant if something should happen."
But these man-made rules of safety will hit home to the resident male eagle when he no longer sees his nest, which is the size of small car and sits atop a massive loblolly pine tree.
Biologists believe the male eagle will be too stubborn to leave. His fans agree.
"You're not going to get rid of the eagles," said Ewing. They can cut down all the trees and the eagles are going to build a nest on a roof somewhere. The only way you can stop them is let them live in captivity."