Nesting Eagles Could Scuttle Plans For Police Shooting Range

CHICAGO (CBS) – The Chicago Police Department’s plans to build a shooting range in a wetlands area on the Far Southeast side may have run into an insurmountable obstacle: a majestic flying object.

Bald eagles have been discovered nesting at the proposed site along the Calumet River. As CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports, wildlife enthusiasts are hoping the eagles can halt the project.

Bird watcher Carolyn Marsh first spotted the eagles last week, not far from where the police want to build a shooting range.

She and Thomas Shepherd predict the birds would leave if police follow through with their plans.

“Nesting birds that lay eggs and raise their young here would be scared off,” Shepherd, of the Southeast Environmental Task Force, says.

The gun range would carve 33 acres out of the serene site, which is already populated by waterfowl and other birds of prey. They aren’t protected by federal law — bald eagles are.

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy on Thursday said he’s sensitive to wildlife concerns and that his department is doing research.

“We want to be environmentally friendly, and obviously to bald eagles. It’s very important to the United States as  our national bird,” he said.

That’s encouraging, environmentalists say, but not definitive.

“It’s just not a good place for a gun range to be,” Shepherd says.

Experts say the city will at least have to seek a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before it can go ahead with construction.

Representatives from the agency have already visited the site.

Bald eagles are no longer on the endangered species list, but they still receive protection under other federal laws.

More from Derrick Blakley
  • Sean Mellin

    dbl headed vulcani GQ, the age of arms of doom.

  • Sean Mellin

    We want the labor force, so we like industry, however there is a balance of give and take, we all know industry comes, but then leaves for cheaper labor, however the balance is in what they leave behind, and that is all of the services and service industry remnants and time saving amenities, because time is also a commodity. The quintessential story on balance of nature and industry in an single event and scenario and collaborative effort to do our part, to preserve the environment accounting for costs and over all costs of industry on the environment, we live and we learn, Good government at work. Nice job.

  • Sean Mellin

    Conjuntio, hard j, hard t. … three little birds.

  • Sean Mellin

    Conjunctio (sp above)… Essentially we’re footing manufacturing’s gas bill, and at what cost to the environment, aka… don’t shoot the eagles guys.

  • Bob Hamilton

    Are you kidding? These are South Side Eagles. They Wouldn’t be happy WITHOUT the occasional shooting! Build the range.

    No one is claiming that the eagle’s nest was placed there by the Audibon. The land in that area presents a natural sound barrier, so all the neighbors, including the Eagles and all other rare birds which turn up there next, will be happy.
    Hey! isn’t that a Pterosaur’s nest? Oh My Gosh! Shoot it! No! Not with that, use your camera.

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