Friday, March 9, 2012
Carrollton to help residents with egret problem
The city will use any legal method to deter the birds from nesting there this year.
Last year’s summer was already bad enough with the record setting heat. However, for the some residents in Carrollton they had to deal with an infestation of egrets and heron.
Residents on Chamberlain Drive were affected the most by the infestation of birds, and with the weather heating up, the birds are expected to be back in Carrollton soon. Residents had to deal with the noise, odor, and droppings which forced them to voice their displeasure to the city and ask for their assistance. However, the city was unable to provide a lot of assistance due to the egrets being a protected bird.
“Once the birds are nested, by law, you can not bother them,” said Scott Hudson, director of environmental services for the city of Carrollton. “We have a strong action plan this year so that we do not have the same problem as we did last year.”
Hudson said the residents who live on Chamberlain Drive have already been very active this year in trimming their trees and doing all they can to make sure they do not have the same issue as they did last summer.
“The residents have pulled down all of the nests that were in the trees as well as trimmed the trees which makes it an unattractive place to nest,” he said. “We are ready to use every legal means to harass them.”
The city has given residents many items to deter the birds away from the neighborhood -- visual items such as balloons with large eyes on them that look like predatora, and reflective objects that make the birds think twice before nesting.
“We have given out 22 starter kits to the residents on Chamberlain that they can use to put in their trees,” said Carl Shooter, animal services division manager for the city of Carrollton.
In addition to visual deterrents, the city also provided an air horn and a water nozzle that can spray water high into the trees to move the birds along.
Shooter said he has his team patrolling the city looking for birds and has also trained city staff in what to look for and to report any suspicious activity to animal services. If residents do see egrets in their area, the city will offer tips to make their property an unattractive nesting area.
“We will refer people where they can buy materials to deter the birds away,” Shooter said.
The city anticipates the egrets will come back to the area on Chamberlain Drive, however, with the efforts between the city and the residents, Hudson feels the birds numbers will decrease this year.
“We do not think we will get rid of all of them, but we are hoping for a drastic decrease,” he said. “Residents last year had to put up with hundreds and even thousands of birds at night. We know some will not move even with the tactics we have. Experts said it would be a three to four year process, but we are hoping [for] better than that. We intend on giving this support for the upcoming years.”
Hudson said the city has been granted a permit by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that allows lethal take. The city has a permit to kill 25 Cattle Egrets, the main type of egret that causes problems for residents according to Hudson.
“We do not want to have to use this, but we have the option,” he said.
Shooter said this summer will be about communication between the residents and the city. If residents see egrets in their neighborhood and report it to the city, the issue can be resolved.
“Our goal is to keep pushing them away,” Shooter said. “If we have communication between our residents and the city, we should be able to avoid a major problem.”
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