After a summer and fall when federally protected cattle egrets took over Allen’s Celebration Park, the city is getting ready to gear up preventative measures to keep the birds from settling in.
About five acres of the city’s largest park were shut down for more than six months because of the nesting birds, according to an Allen press release.
“There were tons of dead birds," said park-goer Emily Garner, of McKinney. "All on the ground, in the trees. It was very smelly. You could smell it from the park playground.”
“People pretty much avoided it,” said Michelle Standerfer, a fellow park-goer, also from McKinney.
Allen parks staff have spent a “significant amount of time” thinning out trees, low-lying branches and other brush that would be appealing to the egrets.
If the birds or its scout bird, the Night Heron, are spotted, they’ll consider adding balloons recommended by the National Parks Service to scare off the birds. Another possible option is using noisemakers to create a disruptive environment.
Cities like Carrollton and Fort Worth have also used similar methods to control other egret populations.
The goal is to encourage the egrets to nest outside of heavily populated areas.