FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Months after they’ve left the normally manicured neighborhood along Tanglewood Trail in Fort Worth, you can still see the clusters of abandoned egret nests in the high branches of the old trees. And landscaping in the shade of the trees still won’t grow because of the birds’ droppings.

“They just flooded our trees and killed all the landscaping,” said home owner Katie Yang. “There were dead birds every day and injured birds walking around and the smell was just horrendous.”

Homeowners caught under the nesting egrets dealt with so many droppings they became a health risk for people with breathing problems. The droppings covered streets, sidewalks, lawns, cars and mailboxes.

Eggs, baby birds and even food litter the ground. And there’s nothing local authorities can do.

“These are protected under the migratory bird act,” said the head of Fort Worth Code Compliance Brandon Bennett. “That’s not just a law, its treaties between countries and that’s not something you can change overnight.”

That means once they’ve nested you can’t do anything to disturb the egrets.

MORE: Egrets Return To North Texas, Landing In Fort Worth

The trick is looking for the first handful of egrets scouting for nests.

Fort Worth is working with Texas Parks and Wildlife to hold seminars and get out the word — scare away the first egrets you see and you’ll avoid the regrets of nesting.

“This next spring we’ll put the education materials out and people will be out banging their pots and pans and using their scare items,” said Bennett.

Its information Yang learned the hard way.

“We hired people to put up balloons,” Yang said referring to three very large orange balloons which might be mistaken as large Halloween ornaments at first glance.

But a closer inspection reveals they have large outlines of owl heads on them to frighten away birds that are owl prey. And the old nests will come down soon.

“There are beautiful trees next to the Trinity River I’d love for them to live in,” Yang laughed. “But not right here.”

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