Battling The Birds

Friday, March 16, 2012 - 12:37pm

Texas town launches counter-assault against egret invasion.

The city of Carrollton, Texas is teaming up with homeowners to keep egrets out of a neighborhood that has been invaded by the birds for at least four years.

The city distributed 22 kits filled with air horns, balloons, streamers and other ways to keep the cattle egrets from nesting near Chamberlain and Addington drives in the northern part of Carrollton.

"We have become experts in how to gently remove birds from our neighborhood," resident Liz Brown said.

Last year, residents dealt with bird droppings that blanketed the neighborhood.

The stench filled the streets.

"It was so bad from May until October, I could not sit on my patio," Brown said. "We were prisoners in our own homes. We're not wanting that to happen again."

Scott Hudson, the city's environmental services director, said he hopes the birds can be scared off by sound, colors and flashes of light.

If the deterrents don't work, the city has a license granted by the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife to kill up to 25 of the federally protected birds.

"It's not a tool to remove all egrets, but a tool of last resort if we exhausted every visual deterrent" Hudson said.

City environmental services crews patrol the area at dawn and dusk because that's the time the birds usually appear.

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