City Readying to Battle Egret Nesting

Neighbors near nesting site concerned about moving migratory birds

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    NEWSLETTERS

    After nesting cattle egrets caused a ruckus in Carrollton last year, the city will be using water hoses, noise and other deterrents to keep the birds from nesting along Chamberlain Drive this year, but that worries those living near last year's nesting spot.

    Just two miles from Chamberlain is the neighborhood of Highland Heights. People there worry new deterrents designed to keep federally protected egrets from nesting elsewhere may encourage them to take up residence in their neighborhood.

    Carrollton Residents Await Return of Nasty Egrets

    [DFW] Carrollton Residents Await Return of Nasty Egrets
    Residents along Chamberlain Drive in Carrollton are not eagerly awaiting the return of egrets that make a mess of their neighborhood. (Published Monday, Jan 30, 2012)

    Last March, a few birds began nesting in mature oak trees that lined Chamberlain Drive. The birds grew to a few dozen, then a few hundred with more hatching every day.

    Soon the streets, mailboxes and cars along Chamberlain Street became whitewashed with bird waste and residents told NBC 5 that the city of Carrollton refused to clean the street because of concerns the noise could disturb the protected birds.

    Carrollton Cleans Up After Egrets

    [DFW] Carrollton Cleans Up After Egrets
    The neighborhood along Chamberlain Drive in Carrollton is getting help cleaning up after hundreds of egrets that call the street home and make a huge mess. (Published Wednesday, Aug 31, 2011)

    Once nested, federal law prohibits disturbing the birds, so residents were stuck with them, and their feathers and waste, through a sweltering summer of record heat.

    "Imagine living in a bird cage for six months, in 100 degree heat, with little or no rain. That's what we lived through," resident Scott Baughn told NBC 5 last August.

    Neighborhood Covered in Egret Excrement

    [DFW] Neighborhood Covered in Egret Excrement
    Egrets are wreaking havoc on one Carrollton neighborhood. (Published Tuesday, Aug 16, 2011)

    Scott Hudson, city of Carrollton environmental services director, said residents who hope to discourage the birds from nesting should be sure to thin out the tree canopy, remove old nests and also use devices like a "scare-eye balloons" to encourage the birds to go elsewhere.

    Air horns or other loud devices that are designed to scare the birds may also encourage them to find other locations before nesting -- whether that be on Chamberlain Drive, Highland Heights or any other North Texas neighborhood.

    But, once they've nested, homeowners must leave the birds alone or they could face financial penalties and possible jail time.