The egret invasion is back in Arlington and this time those noisy, messy birds have moved in to nest in a new part of town, leading neighbors to question, will they ever go away?
On a shady stretch of Lake Tahoe Drive, there are balloons and streamers hanging from the trees. But it's hardly the kind of party neighbors there want to be a part of.
"You can hardly walk down the street without being plopped on by something," said neighbor Barbara Jeffries.
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She's trying to keep a sense of humor about the wreckage an invasion of egrets has caused on her street.
"They are ruining our lawns, and it smells," Jeffries said. "We couldn't sell the house if we wanted to."
There have been hordes in North Arlington in the past. But it's the first year they've taken hold on the southwest side.
"You just get whiffs of bird droppings," said Courtney Shank, a lifeguard at the neighborhood pool. "I mean it almost smells like a petting zoo."
But once these nests move in, there's not much anyone can do.
"Once the birds are here, they're protected," said Ray Rentschler, Field Operations Manager, Arlington Animal Services.
Animal services comes out regularly to care for the injured and clear the dead, and once the birds leave the nests, they'll urge neighbors to take steps to keep them from coming back. That's where those balloons, streamers and fake owls in the trees come in. The city also offers loud noise makers.
"They're called bird bangers or bird screamers," Rentschler said. "Basically the bird's sitting there trying to get all relaxed and next thing you know bang something goes off next to them, well I don't want to live here! So they move on!"
But the one thing known to work is trimming back your trees so the branches don't touch. One neighbor on the street got it right and there are no nests in his trees. The rest are quite literally holding their breath until the birds' next moving day.
"I guess they're going to have to go somewhere but I just want them out of here!" said Jeffries.
The city of Arlington has a whole website devoted to helping homeowners deal with egrets. For more information click here.