Federally-protected egrets invade The Colony neighborhood

Some cities have been proactive in helping residents try and prevent the annual egret invasion.

So far, the birds have found their way to a neighborhood in The Colony, where it has not been an issue before. Residents did not take any precautions.

The city says it's still very much in the research phase of this, but they'll be bringing an expert to the council on Tuesday. It’s welcome news to some residents here who are just hoping something can be done about the egrets.

What up close might look like a nature preserve is hardly the neighbors Kathy Rojo expected when she moved into her home in The Colony earlier this year.

“It was about the end of March that we noticed that more and more birds were starting to come,” she recalled.

The birds kept on coming and took over several trees on Pemberton Lane and another nearby street, leaving behind a mess.   

“It literally smells like dead fish are in the yard. When it rains, I'm telling you it's even worse,” Rojo said. “I don't even want to walk out here.”

And they almost can't escape it inside either. Rojo's kids are now sleeping in a living room in the back of the house away from the squawks.

Pam Nelson is the city's point person on the egret situation. The city started getting complaints a couple weeks ago. Right now, they are only aware of issues on those couple streets, but it's not to say it couldn't spread.

“This is not just a neighborhood problem,” Nelson said. “This has a potential of being a community-wide problem.”

Tackling the problem can be tough. Once they begin nesting, egrets are protected by federal law.

In January after dealing with egret issues there, the city of Arlington passed out “egret invasion kits” to ward them off before they lay an egg.

At a council meeting Tuesday, an urban wildlife expert will give a presentation on what can be done with the birds in The Colony. But some fear they'll have to wait until they're done nesting in the fall for it to be over. 

In addition to tackling the issue at the Tuesday council meeting, the city is also talking about having a town hall a couple weeks later to answer questions for those who want to know what they can do if they see an egret trying to make a home in their yard.

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