Carrollton Can’t Touch Invading Egrets Despite Health, Property Risks

CARROLLTON (CBSDFW.COM) – It didn’t matter that a group of irritated residents spoke up at Tuesday’s City Council meeting about losing their neighborhood to hundreds of birds. City leaders told them their hands were tied, these egrets are federally protected migratory birds.

“The feedback we’re getting at this point is we just kind of have to hold fast until the end of the nesting cycle, and determine what we can do next year to prevent this nesting from occurring again,” said city employee Carol Shooter.

An egret is a bird related to herons, and hundreds of them have moved into the trees along three city blocks near Chamberlain Drive and Addington Street. Before Tuesday’s meeting, residents dodged bird bombs. It’s what they’ve done every day since March, when the egrets moved in.

“We’re all incurring more expenses due to these birds and are essentially prisoners in our own homes. Since we’re the ones paying the taxes and not the birds, who’s gonna help us?” Allyson Baughn told city council members.

For weeks, residents have begged for help. But the city is powerless: If they do anything to the birds, they face steep federal and state fines.

“We have to tiptoe around here to get our mail. I’m standing out here hoping I don’t get bombed right now,” resident Jeff Foster said.

“I just got pooed on again!” said Scott Baughn, another resident.

Shooter was one of the men with the city of Carrollton who went door to door delivering the updates.

Foster wasn’t happy with the news.

“No! We’re not excited to receive this type of information from the city for what we can do next March!” he said.

Neighbors say the egrets have infested 27 oak trees, making residents in 14 houses feel like they’re the ones who’ve been trapped.

“The birds are protected for their habitat. This is our habitat and the city is giving us no protection or relief at all,” Foster said.

The city gave residents a tip sheet on how to avoid health risks associated with bird droppings.
The city also told residents, next year they can try to prevent the birds from nesting by putting fake owls and fake snakes in their trees.


One Comment

  1. Grahawk says:

    A sling shot and firecrackers does wonders or a starting pistol. Loud popping noises will move the birds along.

    1. BirdBrain says:

      Agree on the noise makers, Grahawk! Noise-blast ’em out before they start nesting.

    2. 2sister says:

      Once they have nested, it sounds like you would be in legal trouble if you did that.

  2. educator says:

    Is this really a problem? Bird droppings? Come on, people. Consider that Texas is about to become home to a new generation of uneducated miscreants thanks to our budget cuts and that worthless governor that has been in office way too long. 14 houses affected by pooping birds? Wear a hat. Get an umbrella. But try to focus on important issues.

    1. Scott says:

      Your and educator really??? Have you ever done ANY research on the Health hazards these birds bring. This is a spreading problem… Hour house may be next,,, Then we’ll see what you have to say.

    2. Jamie says:

      Actually, yes, when you get a migration of the egrets settling in it destroys the tress. See all that poop on that guys mailbox? Imagine that covering the leaves of all the trees – no more photosynthesis! Not to mention the smell – gross.
      Usually this is a problem around waterways since egrets eat fish, but for some reason they have settled in this neighborhood. My grandparents had the same problem year after year when I was a kid – they have a farm and a few lakes to irrigate the fields and every summer those birds would come in – they were disgusting. Finally, they had to bulldoze the dead trees down.
      So I feel for the people in that neighborhood.

    3. Ms. M says:

      Thank you, ‘educator’, score one for the birds. Apparently no one seems to be aware that these egrets settled here ‘AFTER’ their nesting grounds/rookery were destroyed several years ago. I actually remember when that happened. There is nothing that maddens me more than seeing the destruction of an area which used to be perfect for wildlife only to see ugly buildings put up. Especially when there is a perfectly habitable building sitting empty less than a mile away.

  3. BirdBrain says:

    Carrollton caught major “sh**” over the egrets years ago when they bulldozed a rookery (nesting site). Many of the egrets were grievously injured or killed in the process. The city had to pay some really steep fines and faced other sanctions for their actions. I worked at a vet clinic that treated or euthanized a lot of the affected birds, and it was heartbreaking. I understand the frustration that the homeowners are feeling, but I also understand the “hands-off” nebtality that the city has in the wake of the heavy penalties that they got for their wholesale destruction of the rookery years ago. For now, as difficult as it might be, homeowners can try the decoy-predator approach, but in the future, perhaps the city can try installing noisemakers, such as the type that DART has at the transit station downtown– it emits random loud blasts like the sound of a shotgun, loud whistles, and other sounds. Maybe if they use something like that during the daytime hours, it might encourage the egrets to move on and not set up house… without harming them in any way.

    1. BirdBrain says:

      “hands-off MENTALITY”… dang, I need coffee!

  4. BirdBrain says:

    I should clarify that the City bulldozed the rookery while the egrets were still nesting there. I can see the need to remove the messed-up trees aftr the birds have left, but egrets are migratory and they would have left after nesting and fledging season. The City could have sucked it up for a while longer nstead of killing and maiming hundreds of birds. That was just brutal.

  5. Glenn says:

    Hang some Owls or plastic snakes in the trees.

    1. CommonSenseTxn says:

      No plastic snakes needed, how about release a couple of hungry boas, play a few tapes of owl and hawk noises, release a few cats, and watch nature take it’s course!

      1. 2sister says:

        You can’t interfere or put them in danger while they are nesting. You would get fined. I doubt that the federal government would view a human purposely releasing a few hungry boas or cats as letting nature take it’s course.

  6. Rick McDaniel says:

    Humans need to realize, they have left nothing for other creatures to survive, on this planet.

    Time to stop complaining about some inconvenience, and recognize they moved into a place that should have been left, for the wildlife.

    This is the wildlife’s way of saying “enough is enough”.

  7. Buck says:

    The city is paying the price for bulldozing the rookery.

  8. carol says:

    Wash down what you can and use umbrellas for now and after they have moved on the city can powerspray the trees clean.

  9. In the strike zone says:

    It is easy for someone watching a thirty second clip to lable those of us dealing with this problem as nature haters. None of us are calling for the all out slaughter of the birds or destruction of their habitats. The droppings pose more than just an inconvienence. There are studies that show that prolonged exposure to the spores left behind in egret feces can cause respiratory distress. Not only is our property behind covered in this material, but it is being tracked inside when we check our mail, and it floats in the air. From the outside looking in, it is easy to say that we are whining, but we live this every day. All we want is help cleaning up! Come stay on Chamberlain for a couple weeks and see if your attitude changes. You don’t have to breathe out here, so it’s easy to talk.

  10. DD says:

    Wear a rain coat you morons. Why did you move into their nesting area? The birds don’t pay taxes? Really? Is this the type of education people are getting now? WHINE WHINE WHINE……

    They are protected for a reason. Now, either deal with it or move. Next.

    1. Marissa C says:

      Uh…duh. They didn’t move “into the nesting area”, the birds moved into an established neighborhood!

  11. YRofTexas says:

    If indeed the birds were there first, then these are my suggestions:

    Do an environmental study of area to determine exactly what it is that is attracting these birds.
    Next, see if it is possible to corder off the area most inhabited.
    Third, any residents that live in that area deemed as ‘home’ to these animals be given the first rights to market-value compensation to move from their homes. If that is impractical, then another area very close by needs to be made “attractive” and the fowl, and encouragement set up to draw them there.
    And lastly,
    The city along with the Fed govt go about to render the area safe for the birds, and any of them that spread out and infest ‘clean’ area neighborhoods can be caught and transferred (at the EPA or other agency’s expense) to the set up area.

    On the other hand, if the birds were secondary to the area, then they need to be re-oriented to another area that is set aside as an ideal site for them, away from the suburban and urban areas of the city.

    The question is… who was first, the chicken or the egg? If the chicken was already there, then don’t complain about any eggs. The developers and city codes and permit department should have environmental studies done before development be permitted in areas that may be of a migratory nature.

    We can’t let mankind and animals collide and fight over territories. Mankind must protect & consider the animals, but the animals must not rule to such a point that mankind becomes secondary.

  12. Dee says:

    The city of HIllsboro has the same problem. Last winter they bulldozed a nesting area after the birds left. It was in a neighborhood and presented a hugh health hazard. The birds have moved to a grove of trees on the edge of the city this year. Every day at sunset, thousands of birds flock to these trees from miles around. They kill the trees and the ground is covered with droppings. These folks in Carrollton were obviously there first. Migrating birds came in later to establish their nesting area. If you can prevent those first ones in the spring from establishing their nests, then you may luck out for the season! But it is usually a losing battle

    1. RussP says:

      Carrollton did the exact opposite of Hillsboro. The egrets had a rookery in a commercial area near a small pond. The city bulldozed it to make the area more suitable for a library and senior center so the birds decided to relocate.

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