Making noise over egrets – Fort Worth neighborhoods, take note

Published on December 10, 2020

an egret over water

Over the past few years, North Texas cities such as Coppell, Carrollton, Arlington and, yes, Fort Worth have become home for nesting egrets. Sometimes as many as 200 birds nest in one neighborhood.

What comes along with nesting is an immense amount of falling white poop and plumage that literally cover roofs, trees, sidewalks and driveways. Then there is the smell.

Once the birds — cattle egrets and snowy egrets — start nesting and producing eggs, they’re protected from harassment under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Egrets, which fly between the United States and Canada, are granted protected status under the treaty in an effort to ensure wildlife diversity and conservation.

What all neighborhoods need to know ahead of egret “scouts” arriving is how to protect their neighborhood from allowing the birds to nest in the first place. Residents should look for a yellowish-colored bird named the yellow-crowned night heron. The scout birds arrive as early as February. Nesting season is typically from the end of February through June.

Deterring egret nests

Fort Worth neighborhoods such as Tanglewood, Candleridge, Candle Ridge West, Kingswood Place and Sterling Creek have learned how to keep nesting birds away:

  • Trimming trees, making loud noises and other tactics are fair game.
  • Tools can include air horns, loud bells, banging pots and pans and hanging reflective streamers in trees.
  • Scary-eye balloons that are filled with helium are also a good deterrent, but they must fly above the trees.

Neighbors can consider pooling resources and hiring a professional tree trimmer to thin tree branches throughout the neighborhood.

The city has, and will, assist neighborhoods with guidance if needed.

“No one wants to hurt or injure the birds,” said Tim Morton, Code Compliance assistant director with oversight of Fort Worth Animal Care & Control. “We just want them to find a wild or native area to nest that will be a safe area, as well as protecting personal property.”

To learn more, call 817-392-1234.


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