Once a year, egrets make their way to North Texas bringing challenges to residential areas.
Texas is a major route for migratory birds that travel between South America and the United States twice a year.
According to Fort Worth officials, annual egret nesting can provide many benefits, but it can also impact residential, commercial, and industrial properties.
Egret nesting can bring about issues like noise, odor, and significant amounts of excrement covering streets, sidewalks, cars, and mailboxes on public and private property, the City of Fort Worth said.
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During a work session on Tuesday, Fort Worth officials will discuss how to prepare for egret nesting season.
Egrets have protected status under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, so individuals cannot kill, harass, move, or disturb the birds once they have established a nest.
City staff said they are working with residents and neighborhood associations to identify birds and discourage nesting which is permitted by the Treaty. Under the Treaty, nesting cannot be discouraged once the nest has been made.
According to city officials, the best course of action is to educate residents to report bird sightings and make residential areas uninviting for nesting.
Fort Worth officials said that last year, the code compliance department received a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that will give city staff increased nonlethal methods to avoid, minimize, and displace the presence of nuisance birds.
Egrets and herons have already been seen in the Candleridge and Summerfields neighborhoods, and staff is working with residents in these areas, Fort Worth officials said.
To address the egret situation, city staff are conducting presentations and virtual meetings at Candleridge with code compliance and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to educate residents.
Residents can report egret and heron sightings via the wildlife section on the MyFW app, City officials said.
City staff and residents are also utilizing air cannons and other measures to move birds along and prevent nesting in residential neighborhoods and city parks.
Fort Worth officials said that if nesting occurs, staff will continue to work with residents to minimize nesting birds' effects.
Code compliance and the parks and recreation staff said they will continue monitoring the situation to provide information to residents.