What to Know: Tips and Tools to Prevent Egret Rookeries
By Arlington Animal Services
Posted on February 06, 2020, February 06, 2020

Hundreds of Egrets begin migrating to Arlington each year, typically beginning in February, in search of a favorable nesting area to form their rookery. History shows that these birds appear to choose the same location each year. When establishing a nest, Egrets are drawn to large, well-established trees, with dense networks of limbs conducive for protection when nesting.

Hundreds of Egrets begin migrating to Arlington each year, typically beginning in February, in search of a favorable nesting area to form their rookery. History shows that these birds appear to choose the same location each year. When establishing a nest, Egrets are drawn to large, well-established trees, with dense networks of limbs conducive for protection when nesting.

Want to avoid the noise, odor and other nuisances that come with rookeries? Arlington Animal Services has a variety of helpful tools and tips to help residents discourage these birds from taking up residence in your neighborhood.

First and foremost, to respect and be aware of: Egrets are federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. What does this mean? By law, none of these birds can be killed, or their nests disturbed once they have eggs or young. Not only do Egrets make their home in seasonally in Arlington, but we host varieties of Herons that are also federally protected under this law. It is unlawful to do anything to these birds once an egg is in the nest.

Arlington Animal Services’ proactive approach to discourage Egrets who are scouting Arlington neighborhoods for nesting areas is under way.

Ray Rentschler, a Code Compliance field operations manager, is in contact with neighborhood groups with a history of being affected by the stench of bird droppings and the remains of frogs, mice and smaller birds dropped from the trees by the roosting Egrets. This year, Animal Services plans to use loud noise makers in select areas to help residents humanely send the birds away. Additionally, Animal Services has long extension poles that will be available to help residents knock nest-building materials out of trees before a nest can be established, Rentschler said.

Residents can also purchase items to help discourage nesting, such as air horns, bright streamers to hang in trees, water nozzles and "scare eye balloons," which are common tools used to scare away birds.

Arlington has 4,651 acres of dedicated park acreage. River Legacy Parks provides a nearby natural area with 41 acres of hardwood forest land. Its mature trees with dense canopies offer a safe refuge for these beautiful creatures – they just need assistance being guided away from residential neighborhoods.

For more information, contact the Action Center at 817-459-6777.

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