A family in Bellmead is dealing with the nuisance of having hundreds of birds that are in the vacant lot next to their home in Bellmead.
According to Nell Weir, the birds have been in the 1500 block of San Jacinto Street since May and have become a nuisance due to the bad smell and constant noise. The feathers of the animals are now also in her backyard and her air conditioner.
"The birds are noisy night and day and it's just ridiculous to have to put up with this thing,” Weir said.
Weir who lives with her three grandchildren said they have not spent much time outdoors this summer because of the cattle egrets.
"I have picnic tables that I have there, a barbecue pit. We can't enjoy any of that. They stink so badly out here. They fly over and droppings all over the place,” Weir said.
The birds have become an attraction, prompting visitors to stop by to take pictures.
"Just surprised and amazed at how many birds were out here. It was something abnormal,” Beyonce Glenn said.
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, cattle egrets are considered wild species in Texas so they are protected by state and federal law.
TPWD’s Urban Wildlife Program Leader Richard Heilbrun said there are actions that can be taken when all the nests in this colony are no longer active in the fall season. He said three-phase approach can help prevent the birds from returning next year.
"We recommend that people go in and remove all the nests. Phase two is to make modifications to the tree canopy because cattle egrets, herons and other egrets that nest along with these birds are attracted to a certain level of connectedness within the trees."
The third step, according to Heilbrun, is using legal scare tactics prior to the arrival of the first birds during the spring.
He added the flock of birds is most likely an urban rookery, which means egrets and herons are nesting in large communities.
He recommends communities, cities and neighbors considering this approach to contact and urban wildlife biologist with TPWD to help them navigate through challenges like this.
"I would really hate for a community to try to tackle this themselves and result cutting these trees down unnecessarily or doing something that doesn't work or doing something that is not exactly legal,” Heilbrun said.
Weir welcomes any help that can allow her family to enjoy summers again.
"Before it was nice and quiet and my grandkids will play outside at the pool all summer,” Weir said.
The Bellmead Police Department, which was notified about the issue about a month ago. However, they told Weir officers could not do anything because of egrets are protected species.
Police Chief Lydia Alvarado said her department will visit the vacant property where the birds are nesting to check whether that landowner is violating any other ordinances, such as excessive brush and tall grass.
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