Ben Russell

Arlington Helps Neighborhood Plagued by Egrets

City has handed out countermeasures like noisemakers, streamers, balloons to deter the birds from nesting

The City of Arlington is providing a literal boost to the efforts of a neighborhood that has been plagued by a pesky and messy flock of migratory birds.

Last year egrets established a large rookery – a massive nesting system that involved hundreds if not thousands of birds – among the many trees that line the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Gaye Lane in north Arlington.

“It was awful,” said Norma Crader, 77, who had just moved into her home last winter prior to the arrival of the egrets.

Crader estimates that the egrets cost her $10,000 on the constant cleanup of their droppings and a heavy pruning of her trees once they flew away last fall.

The egrets started returning within the last few weeks, Crader said. But she and her neighbors are better prepared this year because the city armed them with a large amount of countermeasures, including shiny streamers, balloons and noise makers designed to encourage the birds to keep on moving. The trees above Crader’s house look like a children’s birthday party got out of hand.

“It is too early to tell, because this is just the beginning, so we don’t yet know how [the tactics] are going to do. But hopefully this is chasing them off,” Crader said with a smile.

Crader’s biggest smile, however, is reserved for when she deploys the air horn she purchased with her own money.

“It works,” Crader said, unable to contain her enthusiasm.

The city has already helped Crader to install the shiny deterrents high up in her trees.

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