Making noise over egrets: Fort Worth neighborhoods, take note

Published on March 25, 2021


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

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

What all residents 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 herring. The scout birds arrive as early as February. Nesting season is typically from the end of February through June.

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.

Deterring egret nests

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

  • Trim trees in your landscape. Neighbors can consider pooling resources and hiring a professional tree-trimmer to thin tree branches throughout the neighborhood.
  • Making loud noises and other tactics are fair game. Tools can include air horns, loud bells, banging pots and pans and placing reflective streamers in the trees.
  • “Scary eye” balloons filled with helium are also a good deterrent, but they must fly above the trees to be effective.
  • The city has, and will, assist neighborhoods with guidance if needed.

“No one wants to hurt or injure the birds,” said Dr. 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, contact the City Call Center at 817-392-1234.


Photo: The most characteristic part of the yellow-crowned night heron is the head: black and glossy, with white cheeks and a pale yellow crown going from the bill, between the eyes and to the back of the head.


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