Birds Blanket Neighborhood in Droppings, Frustration

Homeowners powerless, birds protected by federal law

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Residents in Fort Worth's Tanglewood neighbhorhood are growing frustrated with dodging dirty egrets that have moved in. (Published Monday, Aug 6, 2012)

    Egrets are back in North Texas, and now homeowners in Fort Worth's Tanglewood neighborhood are ducking and dodging their driveways in frustration.

    The noisy migratory birds are mostly known to North Texans for the white droppings they leave behind, which blanket driveways, kill nearby grass and give off a strong stench.

    "I wake up hoping it will all be gone, but it hasn't happened," Richard Steed said.

    He has owned a home on Tanglewood for 15 years, but this is the first year he's seen egrets in his neighborhood.

    Federal law prevents him or the city from getting rid of the nests with eggs in them while the birds are nesting. The birds are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

    "Everyone's hands are tied," Steed said.

    Property owners cannot do anything about the birds until November, when they are allowed to remove nests and scare away the birds until February.

    All residents can do right now is collect dead birds and leave then for city waste haulers to pick up.

    Meanwhile, the city is working with several neighborhoods to set up a plan for after nesting season to prevent it from happening next year.

    "They will not be here next year," Steed said. "There will be no nest here next year."

    Steed said the city is considering using noisemakers, horns and even shotguns with blanks to try and scare the birds away.

    Mayor Betsy Price said the city has been working with Tanglewood and nearby neighborhoods since June and plans to help prevent the birds from coming back as soon as nesting season ends.

    Learn more from Fort Worth about the restrictions on removing the birds: Migratory Birds