A Government-Created Problem For Which There Is Absolutely, Positively No Solution: A Plague Of Endangered Egrets

It seems bizarre that there could be: so many of an “endangered” species in one area that they could torment a whole neighborhood, but that’s exactly what’s happening in a Fort Worth, Texas neighborhood.

Tree branches and bushes are stripped almost bare of their summer foliage, and big piles of bird droppings have turned parts of yards a dirty white, residents say.

The usually green lawns on Tanglewood Trail have turned brown and are dying because of the waste, and homeowners are using professional cleaners to power-wash the bird scat from their driveways and sidewalks.

Not helping the situation is the street sweeper being used by workers putting in a new water line – when the machine passes by the homes it churns up a billowing, stinky cloud that makes it difficult to breathe.

So what kind of fowl is creating this foul situation and why can’t property owners – or the city of Fort Worth – do something about it?

Egrets are to blame for the mess, and since they are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act – which means they cannot be disturbed or removed while nesting – they are a big reason people in three houses on the street aren’t spending time outdoors.

Richard Steed, who lives in the 3300 block of Tanglewood Trail, doesn’t spend much time at home these days. He is staying at his construction company’s office or planning out-of-town trips to escape the noise and the stench of the egrets’ droppings.

In fact, Steed rarely uses his front door, choosing instead to go out of the back door because the birds are not nesting in that part of his yard.

“It’s just insane. It’s just awful,” Steed said, describing life at his home since the birds arrived in early May.

Nick McGarrey, who lives nearby, heard about the egrets from a friend and wanted to see the havoc they caused. When he drove by the homes he couldn’t believe what he saw.

“I see these birds flying over my house, and people can’t do anything,” McGarrey said, adding that he is afraid the birds will migrate to his neighborhood when they return to nest in the spring. “It was shocking; I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Unfortunately, these poor people and even the city have their hands tied because under the law, birds are considered more important than people. How ridiculous! Gosh, if only there was some way to fix the situation without humans having to dispatch the birds. If only birds had some sort of natural enemy that could thin them out. But, what are you going to do? Release pythons all over the neighborhood? That would be crazy! Well, I guess this problem is just unsolvable.

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