As many of you know, Manassas is the proud residence of some very special occupants: a pair of bald eagles. The pair has been nesting near the Manassas airport for close to a decade, with their recent address on Gateway Blvd. threatened by development. Two active warehouses and a parking lot reside within five feet of the base of the nesting tree. The eagles must deal with the constant disturbances of trucks unloading below, as well as trespassers on the private property sneaking a peek.
Over the course of the past two years, filmmaker and author Victor Rook has been documenting what has become of the eagles and their offspring since their immediate habitat was removed in July of 2016. “It’s unfortunate that the City of Manassas and the developers, Pruitt Corporation, chose this spot to build what many people deem to be another unnecessary building. Most people I’ve talked to and interviewed for the documentary are still disturbed by this decision.”
Rook, along with a coalition of other residents, sought to right a wrong through daily documenting of the eagles and their ongoings. A lawsuit was filed against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which ultimately led to a permit being issued to offer some protections for the eagles. “But it’s still not enough,” says Rook.
Through the film Who’s Protecting Our National Bird? Manassas residents and businesses have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of these birds and others across the country. Rook communicates with conservation experts and raptor biologists, and also highlights other citizens around the country who have stepped forward to protect our National Bird. “Though bald eagles have made a comeback since the 1970s, it’s still a constant struggle. Habitat loss and lead poisoning are a large threat.”
The documentary is already 1 hour and 30 minutes edited, but Rook is requesting that residents and area businesses consider making a donation on the film’s website to carry it through to the end. Only $3400 needs to be raised to reach the final goal. Those who contribute will have their names and business names listed in the film’s credits. Rook’s last nature film, Beyond the Garden Gate, which was also shot in Manassas, earned two Telly awards and aired on PBS for four years.
“It’s been a whirlwind of filming and editing, and I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish.” Rook expects to release the film to the public for free once completed.
Donation website with video trailer: http://baldeaglefilm.com