US

Ruffled feathers: Proposed resort near East Coast aerie for bald eagles stirs angry opposition

  • In this Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015 photo, an eagle sits on a branch near the shoreline of the Rappahannock river at Fones Cliff in Richmond County, Va. A developer is proposing a luxury development of hundreds of homes and other attractions on a cliff overlooking this critical feeding area for migratory waterfowl. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

    In this Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015 photo, an eagle sits on a branch near the shoreline of the Rappahannock river at Fones Cliff in Richmond County, Va. A developer is proposing a luxury development of hundreds of homes and other attractions on a cliff overlooking this critical feeding area for migratory waterfowl. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015 photo, Hill Wellford, left, and Richard Moncure, of the Friends of the Rappahannock, ride along Fones Cliff in a boat on the Rappahannock river in Richmond County, Va. The two are against a luxury development of hundreds of homes and other attractions on a cliff overlooking a critical feeding area for migratory waterfowl. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

    In this Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015 photo, Hill Wellford, left, and Richard Moncure, of the Friends of the Rappahannock, ride along Fones Cliff in a boat on the Rappahannock river in Richmond County, Va. The two are against a luxury development of hundreds of homes and other attractions on a cliff overlooking a critical feeding area for migratory waterfowl. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015 photo, eroding shoreline is seen near a home at Fones Cliff on the shores of the Rappahannock river in Richmond County, Va. A developer is proposing a luxury development of hundreds of homes and other attractions on a cliff overlooking this critical feeding area for migratory waterfowl. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

    In this Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015 photo, eroding shoreline is seen near a home at Fones Cliff on the shores of the Rappahannock river in Richmond County, Va. A developer is proposing a luxury development of hundreds of homes and other attractions on a cliff overlooking this critical feeding area for migratory waterfowl. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)  (The Associated Press)

Twice a year, bald eagles from as far as Canada and Florida flock by the thousands to a stretch of the Rappahannock River in Virginia for an all-you-can-eat buffet. There they dive bomb the waters for shad, catfish and waterfowl.

Conservationists say the site is one of the most important East Coast gathering places for bald eagles. But they warn the eagles are threatened by a luxury resort being proposed for nearly 1,000 acres atop cliffs where eagles gather. The planned resort on Fones Cliffs has angered land preservation advocates, property owners and others.

The developer of Fones Cliffs Resort and Spa counters that opponents are thwarting economic development. He says the resort would bring jobs to this area about a two hours' drive south of the nation's capital.